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Fifth farmer pleads guilty in connection with organic fraud scheme totaling nearly $140 million in fraudulent sales


This news story was published on May 11, 2019.
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Federal courthouse, Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS – A Missouri man who conspired with others to sell grain fraudulently marketed as organic pled guilty today in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

John Burton, age 52, from Clarksdale, Missouri, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  As part of the conspiracy, he admitted that grain grown on non-organic fields was marketed and sold as organic and that unapproved substances were used on fields certified as organic.

Burton’s plea is related to Randy Constant’s plea from December 20, 2018, when Constant, age 61, from Chillicothe, Missouri, pled guilty to an organic grain fraud scheme involving at least $142 million in grain sales with the vast majority of those sales being fraudulent.  Constant made many of those sales through a brokerage that he owned and operated out of Ossian, Iowa, known as Jericho Solutions.  In other related matters three farmers from Nebraska previously pled guilty to fraud involving the sale of grain fraudulently marketed as organic – Tom Brennan, age 70; James Brennan, age 40; and Mike Potter, age 41 – all from Overton, Nebraska.

Sentencing for Randy Constant, Tom Brennan, James Brennan, and Mike Potter is scheduled for August 16, 2019, before United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams, at the United States Courthouse in Cedar Rapids.  Burton’s sentencing will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Burton remains free on bond previously set.  Burton faces a possible maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment, a fine of at least $250,000, and 3 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jake Schunk and Anthony Morfitt and investigated by the United States Department of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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10 Responses to Fifth farmer pleads guilty in connection with organic fraud scheme totaling nearly $140 million in fraudulent sales

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 12, 2019 at 9:14 am

    I read this article four times, and I never found any reference to President Trump, the democratic party, or of politics in any form. Why can’t the people who post on here keep to the subject and not let their biased imagination run wild.

    • Avatar

      Allen Reply Report comment

      May 12, 2019 at 11:01 am

      Pathetic isn’t it. And you can’t shame them.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      May 12, 2019 at 5:50 pm

      Don’t like it? Don’t Read it. But STFU!

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        May 13, 2019 at 6:30 pm

        Hmmm, sounds like I ruffled a few feathers. It’s too bad that sometimes the truth hurts.

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          May 14, 2019 at 7:21 am

          It must really bite your Dumb Ass!

          • Avatar

            Anonymous

            May 14, 2019 at 4:11 pm

            So now you’ve gone to deleting posts as you have no way to refute them. Typical of people who act through their emotions rather than thinking with their brain.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 12, 2019 at 8:29 am

    The democratic party is the most corrupt we’ve ever seen.

  3. Avatar

    Allen Reply Report comment

    May 11, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Who would have thought that a farmer would try and scam someone.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      May 12, 2019 at 4:26 am

      He’s a Trump supporter, that’s why.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        May 12, 2019 at 8:27 am

        It’s the Democrats that have spread hate, violence and division since they lost in 2016 not the Republicans. The media is complicit which is why it is out of control…