A scam on the farm – Crops that were never there

A scam on the farm - Crops that were never thereSometimes, John isn’t so honest.
Farm scams bilk millions from insurers and taxpayers.

"The federal investigator took the witness stand and described the crime scene: a sprawling field clogged with boulders, native grasses and knee-high sage brush.

The defendant, a California farmer, had said the site was a 200-acre wheat field. But the investigator found no tilled soil, no tractors, no plows. In fact, she testified, she found no wheat.

The field was just a field – and a prime example, federal prosecutors allege, of a wave of agricultural insurance scams sprouting across the nation."

A scam on the farm - Crops that were never there Amber waves of grain.
Farmers pull the scam by claiming their crops have been destroyed, then collecting money on their crop insurance. Either that, or they first harvest their crops, then claim they were destroyed, collecting money twice.

The government says many farmers must buy crop insurance. The government also contributes money to risky policies, pays some insurance company costs and subsidizes farmer’s insurance premiums, so there’s a lot of government and insurance money to steal.

In 2010, the value of insured U. S. crops was $78 billion.

In one case, wheat farmer Gregory P. Torlai Jr. filed false information and lied about how many plants he’d planted by faking store seed receipts and filing claims for land he didn’t own. Some damning evidence was provided by an investigator who took photos of his farm. What did she see?

"Native grasses, sage brush and rocks… Pits. Garbage put into those big pits. Normally, in wheat fields, you don’t see garbage pits."

Mr. Torlai was convicted of insurance fraud.

A scam on the farm - Crops that were never thereNative grasses, sage brush, rocks and garbage.
– Farm scams bilk millions from insurers, taxpayers, SFGate, San Francisco Chronicle>>
– Stockton farmer convicted of crop insurance fraud – Gregory Torlai Jr. is found guilty of making false statements in a scheme to collect $400,000 from a taxpayer-backed insurance program set up to help farmers survive when nature destroys crops. Los Angeles Times>>

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