South Dakota

District of South Dakota | Sully County Men Sentenced for Crop Insurance Fraud

PIERRE – US Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced today that Chief Justice Roberto A. Lange of the US District Court convicted two men from Sully County, South Dakota, of false disclosures related to Federal Crop Insurance became. The conviction took place on January 30, 2023.

James Garrett, 68, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release and to pay the United States $1,045,544. Levi Garrett, 44, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $279,396 in compensation to the United States.

The defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2021 on multiple counts of false testimony related to Federal Crop Insurance. A jury convicted James Garrett on two counts and Levi Garrett on one count after a six-day trial Oct. 31. 2022.

James Garrett and his son Levi Garrett ran a family farm and ranch in Sully County. In 2018, defendants falsely certified to a crop insurance company that they planted a total of 2,200 acres of sunflowers. In fact, the defendants did not plant sunflowers and falsely received compensation from the insurance company as if their entire crop had failed. In 2019, James Garrett falsely confirmed that he had planted 47.5 acres of corn as part of a larger claim. In fact, no corn was planted, and he wrongly received compensation from the insurance company that year. The defendants have made a combined profit of over $1.3 million from their fraudulent crimes.

β€œThe state crop insurance program is an important risk management tool designed to help honest farmers maintain agricultural production in difficult circumstances. James and Levi Garrett improperly exploited this program and lined their pockets at taxpayer expense,” said US Attorney Ramsdell. “Our office seeks to prosecute any South Dakotan who dishonestly exploits government programs, and we do so in cooperation with hard-working investigators, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture individuals who have been prosecuting this case.”

This case was investigated by the US Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General and the US Department of Agriculture, Risk Management Agency. Assistant US Attorneys Cameron J. Cook and Alexis A. Warner prosecuted the case.

The defendants were ordered to report to their prison facility designated by the US Bureau of Prisons.

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