U.S. files claims against feed dealers in USDA livestock feed assistance initiative fraud case

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, June 17 – Charging that feed dealers facilitated and profited from the export of nonfat dry milk earmarked for livestock ranchers in drought-stricken states, the United States has filed a False Claims Act suit against R&J Feed Co., Jerry Goodwin, Richard Carter and Carter Livestock Inc. in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., the Justice Department announced Thursday.

The United States alleges that the defendants violated the False Claims Act by being involved in the improper export of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-owned nonfat dry milk that was earmarked for livestock producers in designated states.

The case involves the USDA’s livestock feed assistance initiatives in 2002 and 2003. USDA created the initiatives to provide protein-enriched feed to ranchers. To that end, the U.S. Agriculture Department provided nonfat dry milk to feed dealers at little or no cost for incorporation into livestock feed. Feed dealers who participated in the program were required to certify, among other things, that the nonfat dry milk received under the program would only be used to produce feed to be fed to livestock in specifically enumerated drought stricken states within the United States. The complaint alleges the defendants falsely certified that they would abide by these use restrictions but, in fact, facilitated and profited from the export of millions of pounds of program nonfat dry milk to other countries.

“The USDA’s livestock feed assistance initiatives were intended to help ranchers in the United States,” said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. “We will pursue those who are suspected of seeking to gain financially by ignoring the program’s rules and not honoring the certifications they make.”

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