Feds crack down on farm insurance fraud

Feds crack down on farm insurance fraud

The vast majority of U.S. farmers follow insurance rules, but a tiny fraction, less than one-half of 1 percent, find ways to cheat the system. "But that less than 1% represents a pretty big chunk of money, between $100 million to $200 million a year," said Bert Little, whose Texas group is contracted by the federal government to analyze farm records in search of fraud clues.

From the Los Angeles Times:

The federal investigator took the witness stand and described the crime scene: a sprawling field clogged with boulders, native grasses and knee-high sagebrush.

The defendant, a California farmer, had said the site was a 200-acre wheat field. But the investigator found no tilled soil, no tractors, no plows. In fact, she testified, she found no wheat.

The field was just a field — and a prime example, federal prosecutors allege, of a wave of agricultural insurance scams sprouting across the nation.

Such crimes are being perpetrated by farmers who fraudulently claim that weather or insects destroyed their crops to cash in on a government-backed insurance program. Some cheats never bother planting at all. Others sell their harvests in secret and then file claims for losses, collecting twice for the same crop.

Farm insurance fraud is cheating taxpayers out of millions [3]