Nebraska farmer ordered to pay $1 million in restitution for crop insurance fraud

By: - September 5, 2022 5:00 am

A corn field in Saunders County, Nebraska, just outside of Ashland. (Aaron Sanderford/Nebraska Examiner)

LINCOLN — A a federal judge has ordered a Newman Grove farmer to pay $1 million in restitution, as well as a $30,000 fine, for making a fraudulent statement on a crop insurance claim.

Ross Nelson, 48, of Newman Grove, had provided false losses of soybeans and corn when he filed a claim in 2015 with an authorized insurance provider that was reinsured by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. He received reimbursement of $700,092 for his losses.

But because Nelson’s losses on his Holt County farmland didn’t match that of  adjacent farmers, the USDA Risk Management Agency launched an investigation. It found that his claims were inaccurate.

Nelson was found guilty of making a false statement in connection with federal crop insurance. Besides repaying $1 million, he was sentenced to four years of probation as well as 16 weekends of intermittent confinement.

The Office of the Inspector General investigated the case for the USDA.


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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. He started his career reporting for the Omaha Sun and later, editing the Papillion Times group in suburban Omaha. He joined the Lincoln Journal-Star as a sports enterprise reporter, and then a roving reporter covering southeast Nebraska. In 1990, he was hired by the Omaha World-Herald as a legislative reporter. Later, for 15 years, he roamed the state covering all kinds of news and feature stories. In the past decade, he served as chief of the Lincoln Bureau and enterprise reporter. Paul has won awards for reporting from Great Plains Journalism, the Associated Press, Nebraska Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a member of the Nebraska Hop Growers and a volunteer caretaker of Irvingdale Park in Lincoln.