LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- A northwest Minnesota farmer has been charged with crop insurance fraud after allegedly reporting false information to the Federal Crop Insurance Corp. in 2018.
Lake Park, Minnesota, corn and soybean farmer Kevan Jon Nelson was charged in federal court on Monday with one count of making a false statement on an FCIC application on or about Nov. 30, 2018, according to a document filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in the U.S. District Court of the District of Minnesota.
Making false statements on crop insurance applications is a felony punishable by up to a $1 million fine and 30 years in prison.
According to court documents, in 2018 and 2019, Nelson "falsely reported losses in those years to obtain crop insurance payments to which he was not entitled, resulting in his receipt of $548,695 in fraudulent payments."
The DOJ said Nelson allegedly "knowingly and willfully made" false statements on or about Nov. 30, 2018, for the "purpose of influencing the action of an insurer reinsured by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, specifically, Nelson falsely certified to ARMtech Insurance Services that he was entitled to $117,740 for corn and soybean crops lost to excess moisture" in Becker and Clay counties in Minnesota.
If convicted, court records said, Nelson would be required to forfeit any property "derived from proceeds" obtained directly or indirectly as a result of the violation.
"The property subject to forfeiture includes, but is not limited to, a money judgment not to exceed $548,695," according to the charges filed in court.
"If any of the above-described forfeitable property is unavailable for forfeiture, the United States intends to seek the forfeiture of substitute property."
According to the Environmental Working Group's farm subsidy database, Nelson's farm has received $1.97 million in subsidies from USDA from 1995 to 2020. That includes $135,680 in 2018 and $125,015 in 2019.
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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