Wall Co-Op Gin at Center of Intense Investigation


WALL, TX — One of the most prominent landmarks in Wall, Texas, is located just one block east of St. Ambrose Catholic Church. It is the Wall Co-Op Gin and Country Store, owned by local farmers and governed by a local board of directors. Farmers bring their modules of cotton from the fields to the gin, where the seeds are separated, and the fiber is baled for sale on the global market. The gin also serves as a gathering place for locals who meet for morning coffee. At the front of the gin, there is a gift shop called the Wall Co-Op Gin Country Store, open to the public, where clothing and farm-themed collectibles are sold alongside fertilizer.

The Wall Co-Op Gin is currently the subject of a criminal investigation, as revealed in court documents exclusively obtained by San Angelo LIVE! Tom Green County Sheriff Nick Hanna disclosed that he received a tip about an alleged embezzlement scheme orchestrated by the co-op’s manager, Mina Abbott. Hanna stated that former County Judge candidate Todd Kolls informed him that the Wall Co-Op Gin manager had made an outcry, confiding in Kolls that she had embezzled "hundreds of thousands of dollars over several years."

A detective from the sheriff’s office initiated the investigation by subpoenaing records from the Wall Co-Op Gin's bank, First Financial Bank. Bank President Chris Evatt reported that he observed what he believed to be "significant fraudulent activity" in the Co-Op's bank account. Armed with this information, the sheriff's detective arranged a meeting with Mr. Kolls.

During what the detective described as a "consensual interview" with Kolls, who was accompanied by an attorney, the detective clarified that Kolls was not the target of any investigation, and no "deal" was struck to secure his cooperation. According to court documents, Kolls was the person Mina Abbott trusted, and she wished to confess her actions to him.

Kolls mentioned that he had known Abbott for about ten years, and she had served as the treasurer of his baseball team. On Sunday, July 30, Abbott texted Kolls to arrange a meeting for the following day. They met at Kolls' jewelry store at the Cactus Hotel on Monday.

"I'm going to federal prison," Kolls recounted Abbott saying while sobbing. She confessed to stealing money from the Wall Co-Op Gin for "many years" and also claimed that she had been directed by Wall Co-Op Gin board members to commit or assist in crop insurance fraud.

The federal crop insurance program, administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides financial assistance and protection to farm owners against crop losses due to various factors. To participate in the program, farm owners must disclose all product sales during a given crop year.

In a simple example, crop insurance fraud could involve claiming a loss on an entire field of cotton when, in reality, nothing was planted that year. The court documents did not provide details about how Abbott claimed to have been involved in any scheme or how the fraud was executed.

Abbott further disclosed to Kolls that she had been embezzling funds by writing checks from the Wall Co-Op Gin's bank account to herself. According to Kolls, it appeared that Abbott had embezzled "several hundred thousand dollars."

As for what Abbott did with the embezzled money, court documents indicate that she was in the process of purchasing products for sale in her startup online boutique store. Her house was filled with boxes of boutique items stacked to the ceiling, as seen in photos and videos on her iPhone. Kolls described Abbott's home as a "hoarder's house," with stacked boxes allowing only a narrow walkway between rooms. He also mentioned seeing Abbott's dog, a "skinny brown lab."

According to Kolls, Abbott expressed her intention to repay the stolen funds from the Wall Co-Op Gin using the proceeds from her online boutique store.

Abbott also showed Kolls a lengthy text message she claimed to have sent to Frankie Schwartz, the Vice President of the Wall Co-Op Gin, confessing to the embezzlement and providing details.

On August 10, Tom Green County Sheriff's Office deputies executed a search warrant at Mina Abbott's home in south San Angelo. Court documents indicate that they seized a red bag containing planners and notes, three Apple iPhones, and two Wall Co-Op Gin credit cards.

The information obtained from Kolls led to the issuance of a warrant signed by 391st District Judge Brad Goodwin, allowing detectives to conduct a search of Abbott's home. It is important to note that this report is not intended to imply guilt but rather to provide details of the ongoing investigation. As of now, no arrests have been made, but the investigation is reportedly intensifying.

Follow-up: The next day, the Wall Co-Op Gin board of directors furiously denied allegations of crop insurance fraud.

Correction: The country store sells more than only gifts. It sells fertilizer too. It's more akin to a home-grown Tractor Supply Store. Correction added.

Correction 2: We were informed that crop insurance fraud takes on many forms and that we described a very direct case. For more context, the DOJ lists many actions and case summaries of crop insurance fraud that happens yearly across the nation.

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AR15, Wed, 09/06/2023 - 10:06

“She confessed to stealing money from the Wall Co-Op Gin for many years and also claimed that she had been directed by Wall Co-Op Gin board members to commit or assist in crop insurance fraud.”


Fraud in Wall? Say it ain't so. I mean how can you trust a community with a well known swinger neighborhood like Ironhorse??? There's a reason why they all live out there and it ain't cotton!

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