A northwest Missouri businessman and former school board member faces a potential lengthy federal prison sentence, for a $142 million grain fraud scheme.
Federal prosecutors in Iowa say Constant pleaded guilty in federal court in December to one count of wire fraud. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Morfitt tells Missourinet Constant is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge C.J. Williams in Iowa on August 16.
Constant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Morfitt says Constant admits the grain fraud scheme is more than $142 million. Constant misled customers into thinking they were buying certified organic grain when it was not organic.
Prosecutors also say Constant admits falsely telling customers the grain he sold was grown on his certified organic fields in Nebraska and Missouri. Prosecutors say the certified organic fields were sprayed with unauthorized substances.
As part of his December plea, Constant agreed to forfeit about $128 million in proceeds from the fraudulent scheme.
Three Nebraska farmers who pleaded guilty to the scheme will also be sentenced on August 16 in Cedar Rapids. Morfitt says the three farmers, who are from Overton, Nebraska, also pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
Both the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the FBI have investigated the case.
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