Farmer accused of alleged $ 500,000 wheat harvest scam


PROSSER, Wash. (AP) – A farmer in southeast Washington is accused of raising tens of thousands of dollars in hidden wheat sales while collecting crop insurance for suspected losses.

Rick T. Gray of Prosser and his company, Gray Land and Livestock LLC, are being sued by the federal government over the alleged multi-year program involving wheat farms in Klickitat County, the Tri-City Herald has reported..

He has reportedly received over half a million dollars in crop insurance claims.

The civil enforcement action alleges that Gray – from April 2015 to February 2019 – defrauded the federally backed program that is designed to help farmers nationwide.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, has eight counts against Gray and his company. It was not immediately clear whether Gray had a lawyer to comment on the case.

The charges include violations of the false claims law, bogus claims to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, mail fraud; electronic fraud; bank fraud and others.

State records show that Gray Land and Livestock was administratively dissolved in February. The civil lawsuit says he filed for bankruptcy with the company, leaving creditor Columbia State Bank with more than $ 3.5 million in unpaid debts.

Federal prosecutors have requested a jury trial.

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