Farmer Charged With Crop Insurance Fraud
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Leon Bernsen Jr., 65, of Corpus Christi, has been indicted for federal crop insurance fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
The indictment alleges Bernsen, who farms under the name Bernsen Farms, purchased a crop insurance policy from a company that contracted with the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. Bernsen allegedly ginned more than 300 bales of cotton under a fictitious business name at a cotton gin in Robstown. Bernsen then filed a crop insurance claim and withheld the production of the bales of cotton from the insurance company resulting in fraudulent crop insurance payments, according to the allegations.
Bernsen is expected to make an initial appearance before a U.S. magistrate judge in Corpus Christi in the near future.
If convicted, Bernsen faces up to 30 years in federal prison.
Criminal investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugo R. Martinez is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.