Published July 20 2010
Farmer accused of duping USDA in bean schemeA farmer from northwestern Minnesota was indicted in federal court last week for allegedly lying to the U.S. Department of Agriculture about adding moldy beans to a load that had been inspected for shipment to feed families in Honduras.
If convicted, Thomas Matthew Chisholm, 37, of Gary, faces up to five years on each of two counts of causing the issuance of false official certificates.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota:
In March 2007, Chisholm knowingly caused the USDA to issue false Federal Grain Inspection Service certificates, which are provided to producers who properly load, handle, and submit grain and other crops for inspection.
In February of that year, Chisholm was awarded a contract to provide dark red kidney beans to the USDA for export to Honduras for a Food for Work program, which helps feed Honduran families.
Then, in March, he delivered 300 metric tons of beans in four lots for USDA inspection for use in the program. After one lot passed inspection, Chisholm allegedly relabeled and re-submitted that same lot for inspection two additional times, after which certificates were issued.
Chisholm allegedly then instructed employees to substitute uninspected moldy beans for those two lots. When those shipments were opened in Honduras, the beans were found to be moldy.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541