Dozens indicted in cattle grazing fraud scheme in Florida


Twenty-nine people in Florida have been indicted in a scheme to defraud the federal government by taking advantage of program that helped farmers who faced drought losses in 2017.

According to prosecutors, the state’s Farm Service Agency director Duane E. Crawson helped his friends and family members submit false applications to the federal Livestock Forage Disaster Program. None of the people involved actually owned cattle but all of them claimed grazing losses.

According to the U.S. Attorney in the North District of Florida, Larry Keefe, those who were arrested “won’t be the last” and he expects charges from another probe to come in later this month.

Prosecutors say the accused received about $373,000 in checks and kickedback more than $100,000 to Crawson.

Charges for those involved include wire fraud, theft of government funds, tax evasion and obstruction of IRS laws.