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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 11, 2022

Cottonwood County Farmer Charged with $46 Million Organic Grain Fraud Scheme

MINNEAPOLIS – A Jeffers, Minnesota, man has been indicted for defrauding grain purchasers by selling non-GMO grains falsely labeled as organic, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, between 2014 and 2020, James Clayton Wolf, 64, a certified organic farmer, engaged in a scheme to defraud grain purchasers by selling them non-GMO grains falsely represented as organic. Wolf, who did not hold a legally required grain buyer’s license, repeatedly purchased non-organic corn and soybeans from a grain seller and resold the grain as organic product. As part of his scheme, Wolf also grew conventionally farmed crops using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, in violation of organic farming standards. Wolf provided grain purchasers with copies of his National Organics Program certification but withheld the material fact that the grains were not organically farmed. As a result of his fraud scheme, Wolf received more than $46,000,000 in payments from grain buyers.

Wolf is charged with three counts of wire fraud. He will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge David T. Schultz on July 22, 2022.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General (USDA-OIG) and the FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert M. Lewis is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated July 18, 2022