Authorities suspect farmers defrauded crop insurance program

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Federal investigators say they believe Central Kentucky tobacco farmers, crop insurance agents, tobacco warehouse owners and others conspired to defraud thousands and possibly millions of dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s program that insures crops.

The Lexington Herald-Leader ( ) reports that the U.S. District Court in Lexington released more than 400 pages of search warrant applications and other documents Monday outlining the ongoing investigation.

Last week, federal investigators searched several sites in Mount Sterling, including several tobacco warehouses and an insurance agency, to seize evidence.

Investigators say certain producers consistently underreported their tobacco production in order to cause an insurable loss payment, with some never even planting their crops.

No charges have been filed so far.


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