Sixty-one-year-old Randy Constant of Chillicothe, Missouri admitted to a fraudulent scheme involving nearly $140 million in grain sales from 2010 to 2017. He admitted to falsely selling grain as certified organic from fields in Nebraska and Missouri through his Iowa-based brokerage, Jericho Solutions.
The investigation by the USDA and FBI found the so-called “certified organic” fields were sprayed with unauthorized substances or organic grain was mixed with non-organic.
Three Nebraska farmers pleaded guilty earlier to fraud; knowing that the non-organic grain was marketed as organic. Tom Brennan, his son James Brennan, and Michael Potter conspired with Constant to sell non-organic grain as certified organic in the multi-million-dollar fraud scheme. The three farm near Overton. Part of the farm has been certified by the USDA as organic. Other fields are not designated as organic.
Federal prosecutors say they are seeking the forfeiture of at least $10.9 million from the farmers, who they say received more than $2.5 million for grain marketed as organic.
Julie Harker, Brownfield Ag News, contributed to this story.