McLean County farmer pleads not guilty to insurance fraud

WASHBURN, N.D. (AP) — A central North Dakota farmer has pleaded not guilty to crop insurance fraud.

Kent Pfaff, 58, of the Washburn area, has been released on a personal recognizance bond. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland on Thursday scheduled a trial to begin April 19.

An indictment accuses Pfaff of providing false crop insurance claim information to insurance companies and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency between December 2019 and June 2020 in order to increase his payments, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Court documents say Pfaff is accused of a fraud scheme known as shifting production. Under the scheme, a person will overstate production in some fields and understate production in others “to manufacture or inflate claims to which they are not entitled.”

The indictment doesn’t list a dollar amount involved in the alleged scheme.

The charge against Pfaff is a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine, and five years on supervised release.