Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Commodities: Perp of America’s Largest Organic Food Fraud Sentenced To 10 Years, Kills Self

First up, Cedar Rapids Iowa's The Gazette, August 19:

Leader of 'Field of Schemes' organic fraud sentenced to 10 years
Sold millions worth of fake organic grains to unwitting consumers
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Missouri man prosecutors say ran a “Field of Schemes” — ringing up over $142 million in sales by passing off grains as organic when most were not — was ordered last week to federal prison for more than a decade.

Three Nebraska farmers who supplied the non-organic grains also were sentenced to prison.
Randy Constant, 61, of Chillicothe, Mo., pleaded guilty last December to a count of wire fraud. He admitted the scheme involved about $142,433,475 in grain sales, the vast majority of which were fraudulent.

Constant also admitted he misled customers into thinking they were buying certified organic grain when the grain he was selling between 2010 to 2017 was not organic, according to court documents. He told customers the grain was from certified organic fields in Nebraska and Missouri but they actually were from other growers. 

Constant made many of the sales through a brokerage called Jericho Solutions, which he owned in Ossian in northeast Iowa’s Winneshiek County, federal prosecutors said.

As part of the plea, Constant agreed to forfeit $128,190,128 in proceeds from the scheme.

Evidence at Constant’s sentencing shows his sales in 2016 equaled about 7 percent of all comparable organic corn grown and 8 percent of all organic soybeans grown in the United States....

And from the Washington Post,

Coroner: Leader of large organic food scheme dies by suicide
A Missouri farmer blamed for running the largest organic food fraud scheme in U.S. history has died by suicide, days after he was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, a coroner said Tuesday.  
Livingston County Coroner Scott Lindley confirmed the death of Randy Constant in his hometown of Chillicothe, Missouri. He said Constant died in “a self-inflicted situation” and said more details would be released soon. 
A federal judge sentenced Constant to prison at a hearing on Friday for leading what prosecutors dubbed the “field of schemes fraud.” But he granted Constant the ability to self-report to prison in the coming weeks, after the Bureau of Prisons decided where to place him....MORE