Iowa Man Sentenced to Prison for Hog Weight Fraud Scheme

A federal judge has sentenced Robert Bickerstaff, 52, from Rock Rapids, Iowa, to six months in prison for defrauding pork producers. Bickerstaff, who served as the regional manager of an Iowa livestock dealer, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, according to federal court records.

As the regional manager, Bickerstaff supervised livestock buying stations across Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. His duties included counting, classifying, and weighing swine at these stations. The U.S. Attorney’s Office reported that Bickerstaff manipulated hog weights and classifications, either by himself or by instructing others to do so. He used various tools, such as a crowbar and paddle, to tamper with electronic scales, creating fraudulent “sort sheets” and scale tickets that were sent to the dealer’s headquarters.

In 2021, Bickerstaff attempted to avoid investigation by orchestrating the destruction of records bearing his name. Despite his fraudulent activities, he received an award from a statewide pork producers’ association in 2022 for promoting pork.