West Michigan Farmer Sentenced To Prison For Defrauding Federal Farm Programs Of More Than $500,000

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GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Leonard Arthur “Lenny” Kolberg, Jr., 57, of Bangor, Michigan, was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison for defrauding federal farm programs of more than $500,000. U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney imposed the sentence.usda_logo

In December 2009, Kolberg, who was a farmer and owner of Kolberg Farms, pledged a portion of his harvested corn in exchange for a $145,000 marketing assistance loan from the Farm Services Agency. Marketing assistance loans are designed to provide farmers with interim financing at harvest time to help them meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are at their lowest. Kolberg defrauded the Farm Services Agency by lying about the amount of corn he pledged as security for the loan, and by selling the corn in the private market and keeping the proceeds, instead of paying off the loan. Kolberg hid some of his activity by selling the corn in other peoples’ names.

At the same time, Kolberg filed fraudulent crop insurance claims in connection with his 2009 harvest. He subsequently filed fraudulent crop insurance claims in connection with his 2013 and 2014 harvests. All told, Kolberg defrauded federal farm programs of $524,838.00.

U.S. Attorney Miles said that “protecting taxpayers and honest, hardworking farmers who rely on farm assistance programs is an important part of our mission. Individuals who defraud those programs should know that they will be prosecuted.”

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