Man in organic seed fraud case given 51 months in prison

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A man accused of using his South Dakota businesses to defraud wholesale seed distributors out of millions of dollars has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison.

Kent Duane Anderson, of Bradenton, Florida, is 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.

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, the Argus Leader reported.

Anderson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering in November as part of an agreement with prosecutors. He was initially indicted on more than 40 charges.

He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier Monday to 51 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release. A sentencing document did not state the amount of restitution he will be ordered to repay.