Washburn farmer to pay $379,000 on crop insurance fraud charges after sentencing

Photo by: WDAY Radio File (Canva)
Photo by: WDAY Radio File (Canva)

(Bismarck, ND) -- A Washburn farmer is excluded from receiving federal farming funds for five years after formally pleading guilty to fraud charge. 

North Dakota U.S. Attorney Mac Schneider announced the sentencing of Kent Pfaff (60m, Washburn) for a charge of False Statement to Influence the United States Department of Agriculture. The charge came down as investigators learned Pfaff understated his soybean production numbers to crop insurance providers to increase his insurance indemnity payments. Investigators learned Pfaff under-reported his yield as much as four to five times the actual amount reported to his insurance company. Federal investigators also learned Pfaff waas "shifting production", a fraud scheme that over-reports yields in one or more fields while under-reporting in others, to inflate claims to providers. 

“This result protects the integrity of the federal crop insurance program,” Schneider said. “The United States Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement will aggressively pursue fraud to protect honest producers and American taxpayers. I credit our career prosecutors and their partners for seeing that justice was done in this case.”

Pfaff pleaded guilty to the False Statement charges, and will be excluded from getting USDA or federally provided benefits. Additionally, he must pay a restitution of $379,317.