Federal jury finds Bastrop man guilty of defrauding USDA over fake farm benefit scheme
MONROE, La. – Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced that a federal jury found a Bastrop farmer guilty last week of creating shell farms so he could receive more than $1.6 million in subsidy payments to which he was not entitled.
Brad A. McIntyre, 33, of Bastrop, La., was found guilty of 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. United States District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. presided over the trial, which started July 10 and ended Friday, July 21. The jury returned a guilty verdict after deliberating for approximately five hours.
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. FSA’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 Farm Service Agency mailed agricultural subsidy checks to the entities, they went to Post Office boxes in Mer Rouge established and controlled by McIntyre. He unlawfully received more than $1.3 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 ASAC 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.
“Crimes involving the laundering of monies fraudulently obtained remain a priority for the special agents of IRS–Criminal Investigation,” IRS Special Agent in Charge Jerome R. McDuffie stated. “It is imperative to the achievement of the IRS mission that these cases are investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I want the law abiding taxpayers to know that we are working diligently to ensure that these individuals are held accountable for their misdeeds with regards to violating the laws enforced by the criminal division of the IRS.”
McIntyre faces 20 years in prison for the conspiracy count, 20 years for the mail fraud counts and 10 years for the money laundering counts. He also faces five years of supervised release, forfeiture of more than $1 million in property and a $250,000 fine for each count. Sentencing has been set for October 4, 2017.
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 are prosecuting the case.