SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Craig Spofford, age 48, of Dolgeville, New York, pled guilty today to three counts of federal crop insurance fraud in connection with schemes in which he obtained more than $179,000 in crop insurance benefits for claimed losses on crops that he did not in fact suffer.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Bethanne M. Dinkins, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General.
In pleading guilty, Spofford admitted that he fraudulently obtained $179,051 in crop insurance benefits from the Rural Community Insurance Services a company that is reinsured by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. As part of his fraud scheme, Spofford claimed to lease and organically plant crops on three separate parcels totaling over 500 acres in Herkimer County that he did not in fact lease and plant. He then falsely claimed to suffer losses on the 3 parcels totaling $179,051.
As part of his plea agreement, Spofford agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $179,051 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Risk Management Agency.
The fraud convictions each carry a maximum term of 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000,000, and a term of supervised release of up to 5 years. Spofford is scheduled to be sentenced on October 11, 2023 by United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
The case was investigated by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the USDA Risk Management Agency, Eastern Regional Compliance Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey J. L. Brown.