Bastrop man sentenced to 9 years in prison for defrauding USDA over fake farm benefit scheme
MONROE, La. – Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced today that a Bastrop farmer was sentenced to 108 months in prison for creating shell farms so he could receive more than $5.4 million in subsidy payments to which he was not entitled.
Brad A. McIntyre, 35, of Bastrop, La., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. on one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, five counts of mail fraud and four counts of money laundering related to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $4.3 million in restitution to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency. The court also ordered him to pay a $1.6 million money judgement of forfeiture. McIntyre was previously found guilty by a federal jury at a trial, which started July 10 and ended July 21, 2017.
Evidence admitted at trial revealed that McIntyre, a fourth generation farmer and the owner of Delta Agriculture and Company, sought to avoid the Farm Service Agency direct program payment limitation of $40,000 per year per farm entity member. From August 2009 until February 2013, McIntyre conspired to create fictitious farm operations. When applying for FSA’s direct program payments, McIntyre listed the names of his relatives and employees as the owners of these entities when in fact he controlled and managed all of these farming entities. The Farm Service Agency’s Supplemental Revenue Assistant (SURE) and Crop Assistance Program (CAP) payments were each limited to $100,000 per person who experienced a qualifying crop loss because of disaster. These fake farms also fraudulently received disaster program payments from FSA.
When the FSA mailed agricultural subsidy checks to the entities, they went to U.S. Post Office boxes in Mer Rouge, La., established and controlled by McIntyre. He unlawfully received more than $5.4 million during the course of the scheme.
“I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s office, OIG special agents and our investigative partners for their hard work on this investigation,” USDA Office of Inspector General Special Agent-in-Charge Dax Roberson stated. “When the integrity of USDA’s farming programs is violated by criminal conduct, the Office of Inspector General will pursue justice to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Brad McIntyre was sentenced today for his scheme to defraud the U.S. farm subsidy program and for his associated money laundering violations,” Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Ted A. Magee, IRS Criminal Investigation, stated. “He was held accountable for his fraud and the spending of his ill-gotten gains. IRS - Criminal Investigation special agents are experts in following the money, which ultimately demonstrates that monetary gain is often the reason for criminal activity. I am especially proud of the work we do with our federal law enforcement partners and of our financial expertise that is utilized to make sense of complex schemes such as this one and helps put criminals like McIntyre in prison where they belong.”
The USDA-OIG and IRS-Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Cytheria D. Jernigan and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany E. Fields prosecuted the case.