Randy Constant, 61, of Chillicothe, Missouri, admitted in a plea hearing on December 20, 2018, to tricking livestock producers into buying grain they thought was organic.
Livestock producers, not in on the scheme, unknowingly feed the non-organic grain to cattle and chickens, tainting those animal products being raised as organic.
Consumers were then deceived when getting beef and eggs, that they believed were organic, at the grocery store.
“American consumers would buy these products at a premium, thinking they were organic when they weren't,” Peter Deegan, United States Attorney, said. “Often, purchasers of organic products pay about 50 percent more at the grocery store."
It also hurt other farmers who were producing legitimate organic grain.
Constant, and his Nebraska cohorts deceptively sold 11.5 million bushels of purported organic grain from 2010 to 2017. That flood of grain hurt the market for organic plant farmers who were following the rules.
Randy Constant was sentenced Friday to 10 years in federal prison. He has been ordered to pay back the $128 million he made in profits from his scheme.
Three Nebraska men who supplied Constant with the non-organic grain will also be spending time in prison.
Tom Brennan, 71, James Brennan, 41, and Mike Potter, 42, were implicated, and all from or near Overton, Nebraska. James Brennan was sentenced to 20 months in prison, and Potter was sentenced to 24 months.
The sentencing judge called Tom Brennan a, “legitimate war hero,” for his Vietnam service. He was sentenced to three months in prison.
Each of the Nebraska farmers also has to pay back $1 million dollars.