Plea hearing delayed for Iowa businessman in biofuels case

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Tax papers

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A plea hearing has been canceled for a northeast Iowa businessman already convicted of failing to pay employment taxes.

U.S. District Court records say Darrell Smith had intended to plead guilty. He’s charged in the new case with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. The records say Monday’s hearing was canceled but don’t say why and don’t say whether a new hearing was scheduled.

Smith was sentenced in December to 13 months for payroll tax fraud.

Federal officials say the new charges are related to Smith’s investment of clients’ money into a now-defunct ethanol plant in Hopkinton. Officials say that on several occasions, Smith transferred money from clients’ accounts without their knowledge into his bioenergy fund. Investigators say he used either pre-signed, blank authorization forms or forged his clients’ signatures.