Cropping Out Fraud

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When a picture is cropped, a portion of the photo that does not enhance the overall view is scrapped. (Similarly, when the government wants to eliminate fraud, it cuts out the part that doesn’t enhance the federal assistance program – the criminal.) An article posted on FarmandDairy.com follows a story about how the government cut five farmers from a crop insurance program after they collectively stole approximately $1.5 million through a fraudulent scheme.

The article states that the ringleader of the scheme recruited four farmers to enroll in the federal Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), which is designed to provide financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops impacted by natural disasters. The four farmers submitted claims for unplanted crops and then turned over the crop insurance payments to the ringleader after keeping a portion for themselves. (Their fraudulent actions resulted in a good sum of money for the co-conspirators, as well as for the ringleader. Crop insurance payments are capped at $100,000 per crop year per individual or entity.)

The five men, ranging in age from 41 to 62, all entered guilty pleas for conspiracy to defraud the United States. They also agreed to forfeit $410,000 along with a fairly new John Deere tractor. (The apple of any farmer’s eye for sure.) They are each facing a maximum of five years in prison, three years of supervised release and fines up to $250,000.

Federal programs such as NAP are intended to help farmers who truly need assistance due to a natural disaster, not provide extra pocket change for people who lie on their crop insurance application. Fortunately, the government has succeeded in preventing these criminals from receiving any more undeserved funds from the crop insurance program by issuing them an uncroppable mugshot they’ll be stuck with for the rest of their lives. (Ironically, in this particular case, five fraudsters are actually reaping punishment for what they didn’t technically sow.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Meigs County Men Plead Guilty to Crop Insurance Fraud,” written by Chris Kick and posted on FarmandDairy.com on January 27, 2015.

SALEM, Ohio — Five Meigs County men who were charged in May of 2014 with crop insurance fraud have plead guilty in federal court and agreed to forfeit $410,000, and a 2012 John Deere tractor.

They remain on bond pending sentencing, which could carry a maximum of five years in prison, three years of supervised release and fines for each of up to $250,000.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.