Farmer pleads guilty to $140M in false organic grain sales


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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A farmer who owned an Iowa grain brokerage has pleaded guilty to falsely marketing $140 million dollars' worth of corn, soybeans and wheat as "certified organic."

Sixty-one-year-old Randy Constant of Chillicothe, Missouri, pleaded guilty to wire fraud Thursday under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in Cedar Rapids.

Constant faces a potential prison sentence of 12 years or more, but that could be reduced at sentencing due to his ongoing cooperation.

The deal calls for Constant to forfeit $128 million, but his lawyer says he's broke.

Attorney Mark Weinhardt says Constant's profit was a tiny fraction of the $140 million in total sales and mostly supported a sustainable fish production company that has failed.

Weinhardt says Constant "accepts full responsibility" for falsely representing that grain he sold was organic.

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