Oak Grove, La., Woman Sentenced in Crop Fraud Case

June 14, 2007

A northeast Louisiana woman has been sentenced to 16 months in jail and ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution after being convicted of crop insurance fraud.

Wendy Gail Hayman, 31, of Oak Grove, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert G. James.

Hayman was found guilty of committing crop insurance fraud and for making a false statement on her farm loan application to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Attorney Donald W. Washington said.

Hayman has been ordered to pay $302,072 in restitution, with $102,072 to be paid to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency, which is the federal agency that guaranteed the crop insurance and $200,000 to the West Carroll Parish Farm Service Agency, which funded the loan.

Hayman pleaded guilty in February to the charges.

Washington said Hayman applied for a farm loan with the USDA and said she had no crop insurance when she did. Further investigation revealed that in order to qualify for crop insurance coverage on her sweet potato crop, Hayman was supposed to plant before the final date of June 30, 2000, which she failed to do.

In July of 2002, Hayman told the crop insurance company that she had planted more than 100 acres of sweet potatoes before the date and in December of the same year.

Information from: The News-Star, http://www.thenewsstar.com

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