Harry Canady, a resident of Lumberton, North Carolina, recently pled guilty to million-dollar crop insurance fraud as part of a large-scale conspiracy to defraud the US Department of Agriculture.
From August 2006 to December 2009, Canady conspired with insurance agents, warehousemen, farm brokers, and adjusters to file false federal crop insurance claims. Canady, a tobacco and grain farmer, would hide his crop production, often selling crops in the name of members of his family. In January 2008, for example, Canady filed a crop insurance claim stating that he sold 7,192 bushels of soybeans, leaving out the fact that he secretly sold nearly 3,000 bushels using his grandson’s name.
Canady’s scheme essentially enabled him to be paid twice for his crops, once through the secret cash sales and again through fraudulent crop insurance payments. The criminal investigation against Canady revealed that he fraudulently received $1,036,516 of crop insurance payments.
Groups opposed to lucrative crop insurance programs are likely to use this case as evidence that insurance programs need major overhauls. Already they can point to farmers making record profits in the midst of the worst drought in a generation as evidence that insurance payments may be too high. This case will likely only add fuel to the fire.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer