Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

The Bernie Madoff of Farming

May 20th, 2009 · No Comments

farmfraudWall Street certainly didn’t have a monopoly on moral decay during the run-up to Depression v2.0. There was also some jiggery-pokery going down in the Heartland, albeit of the modest seven-figure variety:

A man convicted in what prosecutors said was North Dakota’s largest farm fraud case has lost another appeal of the government’s attempt to collect money from him…

[Duane] Huber, who farmed and worked as an insurance agent in Wimbledon, in southeastern North Dakota, was accused of operating sham farms in the 1990s to exceed federal farm payment limits. He was convicted on 19 charges, including conspiracy to defraud the government, and was sent to a minimum-security prison in Duluth, Minn., in July 2003.

More on Huber’s surprisingly complex fraud here (PDF). We’d summarize, but the paperwork lost us at the mention of “flexible cash leases” and their attendant compliance forms (which, of course, must be filled out in triplicate).

There are plenty more tales of farmer’s bilking Uncle Sam out of millions, often by taking advantage of byzantine insurance schemes or faking subsidy applications. The problem’s gotten bad enough that anti-fraud measures have become a top priority for new SecAg Tom Vilsack.

(Image via Lara’s Travels)

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