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Press Release

Sully County Men Indicted on False Statement and Fraud Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

Acting United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that two Sully County, South Dakota, men have been indicted by a federal grand jury for False Statement in Connection with Federal Crop Insurance and Major Fraud Against the United States.

James Garrett, age 67, and Levi Garrett, age 43, were indicted on October 13, 2021.  They appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on December 6, 2021, and pled not guilty to the Indictment.

The maximum penalty each defendant faces upon conviction is up to 30 years in federal prison and/or a $1,000,000 fine, five years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The Indictment alleges that between 2017 and 2020, in Sully County, James Garrett made a total of four false statements in connection with federal crop insurance, while Levi Garrett made one false statement in connection with federal crop insurance.  Additionally, in 2020, James Garrett twice executed a fraudulent scheme to receive money from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which was administered by the State of South Dakota through the Small Business Grant Program.  

The charges are merely accusations and James and Levi Garrett are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General and the Risk Management Agency.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron J. Cook is prosecuting the case.   

James and Levi Garrett were released on bond pending trial.  A trial date has been set for February 15, 2022.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at:

Updated December 9, 2021