Crop Insurance Fraud Explained by NYC Defense Attorney
Crop insurance was cre
ated in the 1930s by the federal government in order to provide assistance to farmers who faced loss when insects, drought, flood, disease, or other disasters destroyed a crop. Crop insurance was born of the Dust Bowl, when small farmers could lose everything because of one bad year- putting the nation’s food supply at risk. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture was originally fully in charge of insuring the nation’s cr
ops, the system of crop insurance was privatized in the 1990s. While the government still guarantees some of the highest-risk policies, private insurers are largely responsible for selling and servicing policies today.
The crop insurance program is very important to farmers, but there is also the potential for fraud and abuse . If you are accused of wrongdoing in connection with a crop insurance fraud scheme, you are likely going to be looking at federal charges rather than just state charges for insurance fraud. You need an aggressive and experienced NY criminal defense lawyer who is prepared to help you go up against the U.S. government to fight for your freedom. Bukh Law Firm, PLLC has the background and legal knowledge you need in an advocate so give us a call as soon as you have been accused of defrauding a crop insurance provider.
What is Crop Insurance Fraud
Ranchers, farmers, and other agricultural producers purchase crop insurance in order to protect against loss of revenue resulting from a decline in agriculture commodities prices or resulting from financial loss when crops are destroyed by hail, floods, drought, or other natural disasters.
In some cases, however, farmers make claims for crops they never planted or make claims for crops they allege are destroyed but that are actually sold. Farmers, insurance agents, warehouse operators, and a host of other professionals in the insurance and agriculture industry may be involved in crop insurance fraud schemes. Playing any role in such a scheme can result in serious federal penalties.
Crop insurance fraud also may be committed in connection with other false insurance claims. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for example, makes subsidized flood insurance policies available and provides disaster relief assistance when natural disasters occur. The same farmer and insurance agents who make false claims of crop damage could also make fraudulent claims to FEMA for disaster relief or flood insurance coverage.
Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
Top Rated Criminal Lawyer
Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC
TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
Types of Crop Insurance Fraud?
Crop insurance fraud involves making any false claims for coverage for damaged crops when no such damaged crops exist. For example:
- Yahoo reported on a crop insurance fraud ring in 2013 in which insurance agents, claims adjusters, insurance brokers, and farmers were convicted of conspiring to steal more than $100 million. In this case, defendants claimed losses of tobacco, wheat, corn, and soybeans. Farmers claimed the crops were damaged, but the crops were sold off using aliases.
- NPR reported on farmers who have no intention of harvesting crops but who are “insurance farmers.” Farmers claim to have planted crops that were destroyed, but often don’t even plow the soil. Claims are made for damaged crops that never existed.
Anyone who participates in any part of the scheme can be charged with conspiracy and face penalties for all offenses committed by the others involved in the fraud efforts. Bukh Law Firm, PLLC defends insurance agents, farmers, crop distributors, and any other individuals or businesses accused of wrongdoing in connection with crop insurance.
Penalties for Crop Insurance Fraud
The Risk Management Agency for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a comprehensive list of convictions and sentences in connection with the crop insurance program managed by the federal government.
The USDA’s list of convictions and sentences makes clear that those accused of fraud can be charged with criminal acts and can face civil consequences. The Federal False Claims Act provides incentives for whistleblowers to come forward and report crop insurance scams by giving whistleblowers the right to receive a portion of money recovered when fraud against the government is identified.
If you are facing a civil lawsuit to repay money from a fraudulent insurance claim, there is a lower burden of proof required before you can be convicted. In a criminal case, you can’t be sent to jail or found guilty of an offense unless guilt is proved beyond a reasonable doubt; in a civil action, the standard to prove you are liable for losses is preponderance of the evidence.
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC can help you to fight in a civil and criminal case against you. Whether you are charged with insurance fraud, making a false claim for government benefits, conspiring to make false statements, money laundering, or other serious state or federal charges, our attorneys will work hard to help you defend yourself.
Contact a NY Crop Insurance Fraud Attorney
Our goal is always to help you keep your money and freedom, and we’ll provide aggressive representation to secure a not guilty verdict or negotiate a plea deal with minimal or no jail time. Call Bukh Law Firm, PLLC today to so we can start developing a strategy to help you fight charges of crop insurance fraud.