Farmer charged in alleged $500K wheat crop scam

<p><p>PROSSER, Wash. — A farmer in southeastern Washington is accused of collecting tens of thousands of dollars in hidden wheat sales while collecting on crop insurance for alleged losses.</p></p><p><p>Rick T. Gray of Prosser and his company, Gray Land and Livestock LLC, are being sued by the federal government for the alleged multi-year scheme involving wheat farming operations in Klickitat County, the Tri-City Herald <a href=”https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/business/agriculture/article254806707.html#storylink=mainstage%E2%80%94card6″ target=”—blank”>reported</a>.</p></p><p><p>He reportedly received over a half-million dollars in crop insurance indemnity payments.</p></p><p><p>The civil enforcement action alleges Gray — from April 2015 through February 2019 — defrauded the federally backed program that is designed to help farmers nationwide.</p></p><p><p>The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Washington, brings eight counts against Gray and his company. It wasn’t immediately known if Gray has a lawyer to comment on the case.</p></p><p><p>The charges include violations of the False Claims Act, false applications to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, mail fraud; wire fraud; bank fraud and others.</p></p><p><p>State records show Gray Land and Livestock was administratively dissolved in February. The civil complaint says he filed for bankruptcy for that company, leaving creditor Columbia State Bank with over $3.5 million in outstanding claims.</p></p><p><p>Federal prosecutors have requested a jury trial.</p></p>