Crop Insurance Fraud

Colleen Kottke reported last week at the Wisconsin State Farmer Online that, “A Waushara County farmer who submitted over $246,606 in fraudulent insurance claim in 2011 is going to prison.

“United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Gregory J. Haanstad said that Jeffrey Lewke, 39, was sentenced to six months in federal prison for making a fraudulent insurance claim. Upon his release, Lewke will serve an additional six months of home confinement. He was also ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and $23,799.44 in restitution to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).”

The article noted that, “Lewke told investigators that during the 2011 crop season, he falsely represented that he irrigated 120 acres of land in Waushara County more times than he actually did. By doing so, he attempted to fraudulently obtain a nearly $63,000 insurance claim.

“In total, Lewke acknowledged that he submitted $246,606.53 worth of fraudulent insurance claims during the 2011 crop season.”

Ms. Kottke added that, “According to court records, Lewke falsely claimed that he was prevented from planting a number of properties due to excessive moisture, when in fact, he never attempted to plant some of those properties. USDA officials discovered that some of those properties were already planted with corn, and in one instance, the property was actually a horse pasture.

“In addition, Lewke fraudulently ‘shifted’ his production by claiming that he produced corn in Dodge County, when in fact he produced the corn in Clark County. By so doing, he falsely claimed that he was entitled to another $70,000 of insurance payments for a loss in Clark County.”

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