Minnesota man pleads guilty in organic crops fraud scheme that netted millions
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota man pleaded guilty to selling conventionally grown crops as certified organic produce in a scheme the federal prosecutors said brought in $19 million in profits.
James Clayton Wolf, 65, of Cottonwood County pleaded guilty Friday to one count of wire fraud after admitting that he sold the improperly labeled crops to a buyer in Pennsylvania.
As part of the plea deal, Wolf will be required to pay $19 million in restitution.
Federal prosecutors initially charged Wolf and a co-defendant, Adam Clifford Olson, with three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. They alleged the men, both certified organic farmers, ran the scheme between 2014 and 2021, and it netted $46 million.
Certified organic crops generally bring in higher prices because they are raised without chemical applications, such as herbicides.
Olson’s case is continuing in the court system.