The case of a Florida man who pleaded guilty to charges of running a widescale “organic seed” distribution scam illustrates the broad sweep of federal laws against white collar crime, including wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.
According to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the FBI and the IRS, Kent Duane Anderson, through companies he formed in South Dakota, bought thousands of tons of seed and grain products from nonorganic suppliers and then allegedly sold the grain and seed to wholesalers and buyers at increased prices, purporting the products to be organic.
While most of the sales transactions in the case originated in Florida, the buyers were in states such as Minnesota and Illinois. Some of the transactions were connected with bank accounts in South Dakota. Many of the interstate sales occurred via email, over the phone or through the use of electronically transmitted invoices.
Anderson was charged with multiple federal crimes laws, including those involving:
Federal wire fraud — This crime is committed when an individual has devised, or intends to devise, a scheme to defraud another through the use of electronic communications that cross state borders.
Money laundering — A person commits the crime of money laundering when he conceals the source of funds acquired through illegal activity through standard transactions. For this crime to be on the federal level, the activity generally crosses state lines.
Conspiracy — Under federal law, the crime of conspiracy arises when two people or entities conspire to commit an offense against the United States.
Based on his guilty plea to conspiracy, Anderson was sentenced to 51 months in prison and two years of supervised release. He has also been ordered to pay restitution of more than $15 million. If he had he gone to trial and had been found guilty of any of the crimes charged, he could have faced a longer prison sentence as well as substantial monetary fines.
The Law Office of Roma W. Theus, II, P.A. handles a wide range of white collar criminal defense matters in Florida and other locations across the country. If you have been charged with a crime or suspect you are under investigation, please call 954.281.4851 or contact me online for a consultation at my Wellington office.
The Law Office of Roma W. Theus, II, P.A. is located in Wellington, FL and serves clients in and around Loxahatchee and Pahokee.
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