LEXINGTON, Ky.– Michael McNew, former resident of Mt. Sterling, was sentenced today to 86 months in federal prison by U.S. District Court Judge Karen C. Caldwell for conspiring to commit wire fraud, in connection with a crop insurance fraud program. Shortly thereafter, Mt. Sterling resident Roger Wilson was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison, also by Judge Caldwell, for conspiring to commit crop insurance fraud.
McNew, 51, was an expert in crop insurance until 2012 when he became a crop insurance agent. According to his plea deal, in his role as an adjuster, he agreed with the agricultural producers to inflate or fabricate the damage to their crops and falsify the number of acres of crops planted when preparing for adjustments. on their loss claims on federal multi-risk crops. Insurance policies (“MPCI”). As an insurance agent, he admitted to committing fraud on MPCI loss claims, as well as private loss claims to his contracted employer, ARMtech Insurance Services. He continued to inflate or tamper with the reported acreage and crop damage and helped submit a generic photograph of the loss that falsely claimed to show damage to a particular grower’s farm. He also admitted to submitting crop insurance claims for people he knew were not farmers, but were relatives or friends of his fellow farmer conspirators, in order to spread losses and obtain better guarantees. In total, McNew admitted to causing a total loss of more than $ 23,000,000.
Wilson, 88, owned Clay’s Tobacco Warehouse, a tobacco warehouse, grading station and auction house in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. In his plea deal, he admitted that from September 2013 until at least May 2018, he arranged for farmers to buy low-quality tobacco, so that they could use that tobacco to get false grades. to be applied to their loss insurance claims, resulting in increased compensation payments. Documents filed with the court and testimony at the sentencing hearing demonstrated that Wilson also produced false sales receipts, shipping reports and bullet tags, all for the purpose of facilitate fraudulent crop insurance claims. These documents showed that Wilson was responsible for more than $ 9,000,000 in losses for the federal government.
McNew pleaded guilty in October 2020. Wilson pleaded guilty in May 2021.
Under federal law, McNew must serve 85% of his sentence, while Wilson must serve his full sentence. Upon release from prison, they will be under the supervision of the United States Probation Office for a period of three years. McNew must also pay damages of $ 19,596,936. Wilson’s restitution order is still pending in court.
Other recent convictions for crop insurance fraud have resulted in the following sentences:
- Ronnie Jolly, 50, of Paris, Ky., Was sentenced on August 13, 2021 to 36 months in prison and five years on probation.
- Bradley Price, 38, of Carlisle, Ky., Was sentenced on August 20, 2021 to 30 months in prison and three years on probation.
- Brandon Price, 30, of Paris, Ky., Was sentenced on August 20, 2021 to six months in prison and three years on probation.
- Jimmy Price, 61, of Carlisle, Ky., Was sentenced on August 20, 2021 to six months in prison and three years on probation.
Carlton S. Shier, IV, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Jason M. Williams, Special Agent in Charge, Office of the Inspector General, United States Department of Agriculture; Edward J. Gray, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louisville Regional Office; Bryant Jackson, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; and Juan Garrett, director, Kentucky Department of Insurance Fraud Investigation Division, jointly made the announcement.
The investigations were conducted by the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Department of Agriculture, Special Investigations staff of the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and Kentucky Department of Insurance. The United States is represented by Deputy United States Attorneys Erin Roth and Kathryn Anderson.
– TO FINISH –