Sixty-one-year-old Randy Constant of Chillicothe, Missouri pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. He admitted to selling more than $142 millon of grain he claimed was certified organic — but most of it was purchased from nonorganic growers. He sold much of the grain was sold through his brokerage firm Jericho Solutions, located in Ossian, Iowa.
At his plea hearing, he admitted from 2010 to 2017, he falsely told customers the grain he sold was grown on his certified organic fields in Nebraska and Missouri when it was not. Evidence at the trial showed at the same time Constant was selling the grain he was flying to Las Vegas to gamble and paid women to have sex with him.
Constant was sentenced in federal court in Cedar Rapids to 122 months in prison and ordered to forfeit more than $128 million in proceeds from his crime. Evidence at Constant’s sentencing showed that, for 2016, his sales equaled approximately 7% of all comparable organic corn grown and 8% of all organic soybeans grown in the United States. Overall, from 2010 to 2017, Constant sold more than 11,500,000 bushels of grain, over 90% of which was falsely marketed as organic. That amount of grain would fill approximately 3,600 rail cars or 14,375 semi-trailers.
Three farmers from Nebraska who supplied him with non-organic grain were also sentenced to federal prison for their roles in the scheme. Seventy-one-year-old James Brennan was sentenced to 20 months in prison, 42-year-old Mike Potter was sentenced to 24 months. Tom Brennan, whom the sentencing judge referred to as a “legitimate war hero” for his service in Vietnam, was sentenced to 3 months.
Each of the Nebraska farmers was also ordered to forfeit one million in proceeds from their crimes.