A Sigourney man was sentenced to 33 months in a federal court last week for committing fraud by selling grain as organic that did not meet federal standards.
48-year-old Mark Haines pleaded guilty to mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Haines concealed his use of treated seeds which is in violation of practices outlined by the USDA’s National Organic Program. The grain was then sold by Haines to a number of unwitting consumers at a total sale price of $6.5 million.
Haines also conspired to impede and obstruct the IRS. Between April 2017 and April 2019, Haines obtained false invoices, backdated checks, and exchanged checks to give the appearance of an expense that was not in fact incurred. In total, Haines concealed over $1.3 million in income.
Haines was ordered to pay $408,107 in restitution to the IRS and $25,233.44 to a purchaser of the purported organic crops.
Once his prison sentence is completed, Haines will serve a two-year supervised release.