Athol, South Dakota Man Pays $180,000 After Defrauding the Government
Jason Sparling submitted an application for a drought disaster payment to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFDP), for a loss of grazing during the summer of 2014. Based on Sparling’s statements, he received an LFDP payment of $94,696. The USDA later determined that none of Sparling’s cattle were on the drought stricken pasture during the qualifying period and Starling was not entitled to the disaster payment.
Sparling subsequently entered into a settlement agreement and paid the government $180,000, to settle the civil debt resulting from his false statements made to the USDA, pursuant to the False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. § 3729). The False Claims Act imposes liability on persons and companies who knowingly submit false claims to the government to get a benefit paid by the government. Persons who submit a false claim must pay to the United States a civil penalty of not less than $5,500 and not more than $11,000 for each false claim, plus three times the amount of damages which the government sustained.
The United States Attorney’s Office places a high priority on criminal and civil enforcement in cases involving all types of fraud committed against the government, and works with various law enforcement agencies to identify and investigate these matters. The investigation, in this case was conducted by USDA, Office of Inspector General.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cheryl Schrempp DuPris handled the civil case.