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$15 million restitution ordered in organic seed fraud case

February 25, 2021 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Restitution of more than $15 million has been ordered in South Dakota for the man who defrauded wholesale seed distributors by passing off non-organic products as more expensive organic goods.

An earlier sentencing document had not listed the amount of restitution for Kent Duane Anderson, of Bradenton, Florida. Restitution has been set at $15,311,927, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Anderson was sentenced Monday to 51 months in prison after earlier pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering as part of an agreement with prosecutors. He was initially indicted on more than 40 charges.

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Anderson was accused of reselling thousands of tons of non-organic seeds at a marked-up organic price through his businesses, Bar Two Bar Ranch and Green Leaf Resources and several Green Leaf spinoffs.

Products that Anderson bought from suppliers were primarily shipped to a storage and loading facility he owned in Tappen, North Dakota, according to court documents.

An indictment says that between October 2012 and December 2017, Anderson bought about $46 million worth of non-organic seed, sold it as organic for about $71 million and used the profits to buy a yacht, Florida home, jewelry, expensive vehicles and land in South Dakota, among other things.

The indictment says Anderson listed a relative and a college friend as “figurehead” executives who were certified with the Department of Agriculture as authorized organic handlers. Those certifications were used as a cover to pass off the non-organic products as organic.