CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—A judge sentences a Chillicothe, Mo man to prison for his role in the largest fraudulent organic-food scheme in United States history.
Friday, Aug. 16, U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams sentenced 60-year-old Randy Constant, of Chillicothe, to 10 years in prison. Constant engineered a nationwide scheme that spanned 7 years. According to Iowa based news organization, The Courier, Constant and four other farmers garnered approximately $142 million in the sell of fraudulent organic grain.
Three farmers out of Overton, NE were also sentenced on Friday as co-conspirators. 40-year-old Michael Potter will serve two years and 41-year-old James Brennan will serve one year and eight months in prison. Brennan’s father, 71-year-old Tom Brennan will serve only three months. A shortened sentence only gifted to T. Brennan for his service in the Vietnam War. According to the Associated Press, a fifth unnamed farmer has also pleaded guilty but has not yet been sentenced. Each pleaded guilty to wire fraud.
The five farmers knowingly sold non-organic corn and soybeans as USDA certified organic. The AP also states that in 2018 court documents claimed 90% of the grain sold through the two brokerages owned by Constant, Organic Land Management and Jericho Solutions, was non-organic. This scheme possibly extends back to 2004 but a lack of data rendered that allegation inadmissible.