CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) _ A judge has sentenced the mastermind of the largest organic food fraud scheme in U.S. history to 10 years in prison, saying he cheated thousands of customers into buying products they didn’t want.
U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams said Friday that Randy Constant was responsible for a massive fraud that did “extreme and incalculable damage” to consumers and shook public confidence in the nation’s organic food industry.
Williams ordered Constant, a 60-year-old farmer from Chillicothe, Missouri, to serve 122 months in federal prison.
Earlier in the day, Williams also gave shorter prison terms to three Overton, Nebraska, farmers who were part of the scheme.
The four admitted that they grew non-organic corn and soybeans, and a small amount of certified organic grains, and falsely marketed them all as certified organic.