Farmer pleads guilty to $140M in false organic grain sales
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A farmer who owned an Iowa grain brokerage has pleaded guilty to falsely marketing $140 million dollars’ worth of corn, soybeans and wheat as “certified organic.”
Sixty-one-year-old Randy Constant of Chillicothe, Missouri, pleaded guilty to wire fraud Thursday under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in Cedar Rapids.
Constant faces a potential prison sentence of 12 years or more, but that could be reduced at sentencing due to his ongoing cooperation.
The deal calls for Constant to forfeit $128 million, but his lawyer says he’s broke.
Attorney Mark Weinhardt says Constant’s profit was a tiny fraction of the $140 million in total sales and mostly supported a sustainable fish production company that has failed.
Weinhardt says Constant “accepts full responsibility” for falsely representing that grain he sold was organic.