Matthew John Kerns defaulted on loans for cattle and agricultural equipment, failed to produce collateral
Smith County, Texas — When a borrower defaults on a loan, the bank comes for the collateral. But when it’s not there — either because it never existed, has been sold or the borrower fails to surrender it — that’s criminal. It’s called hindering a secured creditor, and in Texas, ranges from a misdemeanor to a felony. For Matthew John Kerns, a 51-year-old Winona man, it was the latter.
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Ranger Jimmy Dickson says he was contacted by the victim, a Van Zandt County-based lending institution, in January. They told the special ranger after Kerns defaulted on his loan, they were only able to recover part of the equipment and a small number of the of livestock that had been pledged as collateral.
Dickson, along with fellow Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Ranger Larry Hand, investigated. Dickson presented his case to a grand jury June 26. Kerns was arrested last week and is out on $25,000 bond awaiting trial.
Dickson says Hand was instrumental in building the case since he was familiar with the suspect, but is also quick to credit the Smith County Sheriff’s Department for assisting and the Van Zandt County District Attorney’s office for their diligence in the matter.