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3 farmers to plead guilty in organic grain fraud scheme

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Three farmers have agreed to plead guilty to fraudulently marketing non-organic corn and soybeans as certified organic as part of a lengthy, multi-million-dollar scheme.

Documents filed in federal court in Iowa show that Tom Brennan, James Brennan and Michael Potter each intend to plead guilty to wire fraud.

All three are identified in court papers as farmers from Nebraska, but additional information about them wasn’t immediately available. Their attorneys didn’t immediately reply to phone messages.

Prosecutors allege that the three sold non-organic grains to an Iowa company that marketed them nationwide with an organic label. In particular, they allegedly used unapproved substances such as pesticides and nitrogen to grow the crops.

The scheme allegedly lasted from 2010 until 2017 and netted at least $10.8 million.

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