Paris Man Indicted For Crop Insurance Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Money Laundering
LEXINGTON, Ky. – According to court records unsealed today, a Paris, Ky. man was indicted on March 1, 2018, and charged with crop insurance fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering-related offenses.
A federal grand jury in Lexington returned the indictment charging 46-year-old Ronnie Jolly with one count of conspiring to violate federal law, six counts of making false statements to influence the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (“FCIC”) and companies the FCIC reinsures, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 21 counts of money laundering, and one count of structuring currency transactions to avoid reporting requirements.
The indictment alleges that Jolly, an agricultural producer of tobacco, corn, and soybeans in Bath, Bourbon, Fleming, Montgomery, and Scott Counties, hid his crop production from his insurance company, in order to claim damage to his crop sufficient to trigger crop insurance indemnity payments, which are funded by the federal government through the FCIC. The indictment alleges that he also obtained crop insurance policies, in the names of his employees, for crops that he produced. The indictment alleges this was designed to avoid federal government scrutiny over his claims of crop damage, because he spread the damage amongst several producers. Similarly, the indictment alleges that Jolly obtained private crop insurance policies in the names of others.
According to the indictment, Jolly used the proceeds from crop insurance indemnity checks and fraudulent crop sales to make at least 21 bank transactions, in violation of federal money laundering statutes. He is also alleged to have withdrawn $9,500 in cash from his bank accounts, on four consecutive days, in an effort to avoid federal bank reporting requirements.
Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Karen Citizen-Wilcox, Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General; Amy Hess, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation; Christopher Altemus, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; and Dwayne Depp, Director, Kentucky Department of Insurance Fraud Investigation Division, jointly announced the indictment.
The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and Kentucky Department of Insurance. The indictment was presented to the grand jury by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathryn M. Anderson and Erin M. Roth.
A date for Jolly to appear in court has not yet been scheduled. For the conspiracy to violate federal law charge, Jolly faces up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. For each charge of making false statements to the FCIC, he faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000. For the conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and structuring charges, Jolly faces 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, and for the remaining money laundering charges, Jolly faces 10 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. However, any sentence following a conviction would be imposed by the Court, after its consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statutes.
Any indictment is an accusation only. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.