A 64-year-old southwestern Minnesota farmer is facing federal charges in connection to a multi-million dollar organic grain fraud scheme.
James Clayton Wolf, of Jeffers, is accused of defrauding grain purchasers by selling non-GMO grains that were falsely labeled as organic, the United States Attorney's Office said Tuesday. He faces three counts of wire fraud and will make his initial court appearance on July 22.
Court documents state the certified organic farmer, Wolf, repeatedly purchased non-organic corn and soybeans from a grain seller and resold the grain as an organic product. Prosecutors say this happened from 2014 to 2020. Additionally, Wolf also does not have a grain buyers license to make these purchases.
Wolf is also alleged to have grown conventionally farmed crops using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which is in violation of organic farming standards. He lost his organic farming certification in 2020, but he continued to sell non-GMO grain falsely labeled as organic through an "associate," court records show.
In all, Wolf made over $46 million in the wire fraud scheme.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, organic farming uses non-GMO seeds and crops that are grown without chemicals and fertilizers. It generates higher prices at market than non-organic crops.
Wire fraud is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, according to federal sentencing guidelines.