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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 13, 2023

Superseding Indictment Charges Two Cottonwood County Farmers in $46 Million Organic Grain Fraud Scheme

MINNEAPOLIS – Two Cottonwood County men have been charged in a superseding indictment with conspiring to defraud grain purchasers out of more than $46,000,000 by selling non-GMO grains falsely labeled as organic, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, between 2014 and 2021, James Clayton Wolf, 65, a certified organic farmer, engaged in a scheme to defraud grain purchasers by selling them non-GMO grains falsely represented as organic. The charges allege that as part of his scheme, Wolf also grew conventionally farmed crops using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, in violation of organic farming standards, and provided grain purchasers with copies of his National Organics Program certification but withheld that the grains were not organically farmed. The superseding indictment charges that after Wolf’s organic farming certification was revoked in 2020, Adam Clifford Olson, 45, also a certified organic farmer, helped Wolf sell non-GMO crops falsely described as organic.

The superseding indictment charges Wolf and Olson with three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. Wolf, who was charged in the first indictment, made his initial appearance on July 22, 2022, in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge David T. Schultz. Olson is scheduled to make his initial appearance on January 26, 2023, before Magistrate Judge John F. Docherty.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General (USDA-OIG), the FBI, and the U.S. Marshals Service, with assistance from the Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Lewis, Craig Baune, and Quinn Askew are prosecuting the case.

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

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated January 13, 2023