Missouri farmer gets 2 years for crop insurance fraud of more than $200,000

Insurance Fraud

(Southeast Missourian) – Federal Judge Stephen Limbaugh sentenced a Parma, Missouri, man to two years in prison for crop insurance fraud, theft of government property and wire fraud Tuesday in Cape Girardeau.

Bobby David Lowrey, 48, pleaded guilty May 17 to two felony counts of making false statements about crop insurance benefits, one felony count of theft of government property and one felony count of wire fraud.

Lowrey placed farms in other people’s names to obtain payments he was not eligible to receive under the federal government’s crop insurance program, according to court documents. Lowrey and his wife had maxed out the benefits they could receive, according to court documents.

The investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found Lowrey made false statements to the agency and the Federal Crop Insurance Corp. and obtained about $240,000 worth of crop insurance indemnities and subsidies from 2007 through 2012.

Payments to Lowrey were considered government property, according to court documents. 

Between 2008 and 2012, the Federal Crop Insurance Corp. reimbursed about $207,000 in indemnity payments, premium subsidies and administrative subsidies made to John Radin Farms, according to court documents. Radin was an employee of Lowrey, not actively engaged in farming and had no financial interest in the land other than being paid a $2,000 bonus by Lowrey to keep an account in his name for the payment program, according to documents.

Lowrey owned and operated farms and related businesses in Parma, including Bobby David Lowrey Farms, Lowrey and Lowrey Inc., John Radin Farms and Kathy Ellsworth Farms, according to court documents.

Lowrey also transmitted a statement by wire stating his employees were on a temporary layoff, but they still were working and being paid. There was $60,000 worth of unemployment-insurance benefits being paid to employees they were not eligible to receive.