LEXINGTON, Ky (LEX 18)– A former crop insurance agent was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison for charges of conspiracy to commit crop insurance fraud and crop insurance fraud.
The Department of Justice says that in April 2018, 63-year-old Debra Muse pleaded guilty and admitted to urging and assisting co-conspiring farmers to file false tobacco crop insurance claims with the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, with the intent to help the farmers obtain crop insurance proceeds to which they were not entitled.
The press release said that these crop insurance claims contained falsified reports of tobacco production. Muse was a crop insurance agent and employee at Clay’s Tobacco Warehouse during the period in question. She admitted that she created multiple false documents, including Clay’s Tobacco Warehouse sale bills and shipping reports, to help the farmers hide their crop production from their insurance adjusters and falsify the quality of the tobacco, which led to inflated payments from the farmers’ crop insurers, which are reinsured by the federal government.
The Department of Justice said that Muse caused the federal government to pay out $5,917,515 in crop insurance indemnity payments to agricultural producers, including her clients and the clients of other insurance agents, to which they were not entitled.
Muse must serve 85% of her prison sentence and upon release will be on probation for five years.
She was ordered to pay $1,656,275 in restitution.