Colo. Farms Ordered to Surrender Records in Insurance Investigation

October 17, 2007

Three San Luis Valley, Colo., farms have been ordered to turn over records to a federal investigator looking into whether they illegally sold potatoes after collecting up to $1.3 million in federal insurance payments on the same crop.

U.S. District Judge John Kane last week ordered Bigelow Associated Farms Inc., JB Farms and Ken Burback to submit the information to Department of Agriculture investigators by Oct. 22.

The department claimed the growers had repeatedly ignored subpoenas seeking the documents.

In a court filing, Sharon Johnson, an investigator for the USDA’s inspector general, said the department suspects the growers sold potatoes they had claimed as a loss.

“If true, this would indicate a violation” of federal law against submitting false claims for the crop insurance program, Johnson wrote.

The USDA filing said Bigelow Associated Farms and JB Farms are owned by Boyd and Janet Bigelow. No one answered telephones listed for the Bigelows or Burback.

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