SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Federal prosecutors have charged a Rapid City businessman in what they say was a $71 million scheme to sell fake organic grain and seed which he used to fuel an extravagant lifestyle that included a yacht, a multi-million dollar home and luxury cars.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed an indictment for wire fraud and money laundering last week against Kent Duane Anderson, alleging that he used a network of South Dakota businesses to sell non-organic grain and seed products as organic. Anderson made a profit of about $25 million from the fake organic sales from October 2012 to December 2017, according to court documents.
Anderson was booked into the Pennington County jail on Thursday, and no bond has been set.
According to court documents, Anderson operated a business called Green Leaf Resources that markets “certified organic” flax and canola seeds, meal and oils. But prosecutors allege he employed his sister-in-law and a college friend as “figurehead executives,” who were certified as authorized organics handlers with the Department of Agriculture. He then used these certifications as “cover” to purchase non-organic products and resell them as organic.
Prosecutors allege that Anderson transferred nearly $11 million from the fraudulent sales over five years into his personal accounts.