- The vast majority of U.S. farmers follow insurance rules, but a tiny fraction, less than one-half of 1 percent, find ways to cheat the system.
- "But that less than 1% represents a pretty big chunk of money, between $100 million to $200 million a year," said Bert Little, whose Texas group is contracted by the federal government to analyze farm records in search of fraud clues.
From the Los Angeles Times:
The federal investigator took the witness stand and described the crime scene: a sprawling field clogged with boulders, native grasses and knee-high sagebrush.
The defendant, a California farmer, had said the site was a 200-acre wheat field. But the investigator found no tilled soil, no tractors, no plows. In fact, she testified, she found no wheat.
The field was just a field — and a prime example, federal prosecutors allege, of a wave of agricultural insurance scams sprouting across the nation.
Such crimes are being perpetrated by farmers who fraudulently claim that weather or insects destroyed their crops to cash in on a government-backed insurance program. Some cheats never bother planting at all. Others sell their harvests in secret and then file claims for losses, collecting twice for the same crop.