Idaho farmer sentenced to 3 years in prison for seed fraud

Posted at 1:22 PM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 15:22:39-04

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A farmer in south-central Idaho who passed off conventional seed as organic has been sentenced to three years in prison.

The U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson's office announced Tuesday that Bliss Seeds LLC owner Bernard Saul, of Bliss would also be sentenced to three years of supervised release, to forfeit the $1.9 million and an additional $7,500 fine. Saul made $1.9 million more in seed sales than he would have selling non-organic alfalfa seeds.

Saul pleaded guilty in March to wire fraud for intentionally misrepresenting alfalfa seed as organic to several Midwestern buyers. His wife, Roza Saul, will be sentenced in June after pleading guilty to delivery of a misbranded food product.

Olson said in a prepared statement that Saul's sentencing sends a clear message that business owners who cut corners will be punished.