Jan 18, 2023

Second man charged in Minnesota organic grain fraud scheme

James Clayton Wolf and Adam Clifford Olson are accused of wire fraud and conspiracy.

Two Minnesota producers are accused of conspiring to defraud grain purchasers out of more than $46 million by selling non-GMO grains falsely labeled as organic, said the U.S. Attorney's Office of Minnesota on January 13.

According to court documents, between 2014 and 2021, James Clayton Wolf, 65, a certified organic farmer, engaged in a scheme to defraud grain purchasers by selling them non-GMO grains falsely represented as organic.

The charges allege that as part of his scheme, Wolf also grew conventionally farmed crops using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, in violation of organic farming standards, and provided grain purchasers with copies of his National Organic Program certification but withheld that the grains were not organically farmed.

The superseding indictment charges that after Wolf’s organic farming certification was revoked in 2020, Adam Clifford Olson, 45, also a certified organic farmer, helped Wolf sell non-GMO crops falsely described as organic.

The superseding indictment charges Wolf and Olson with three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. Wolf, who was charged in the first indictment, made his initial appearance on July 22, 2022, in U.S. District Court.

Olson is scheduled to make his initial appearance on January 26, 2023.

Wire fraud is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, according to federal sentencing guidelines.

Lisa Cleaver

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