A north Missouri businessman who was involved in the largest organic fraud scheme in American history has been sentenced to probation and fined.
Federal prosecutors in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, say Steven Whiteside has been sentenced to three years probation and fined 45-thousand dollars. Whiteside lives near Chillicothe, which is east of St. Joseph.
Two other Northwest Missouri men were sentenced to federal prison for their roles in the 142-million dollar grain fraud scheme, which federal prosecutors describe as the “Field of Schemes.”
Steven Whiteside of Chillicothe pleaded guilty in December to signing a document that allowed Randy Constant to sell conventionally raised grain as certified organic and receive a higher premium.
Federal prosecutors say Whiteside received $177-thousand for grain that Constant resold to animal feed producers. They had asked for a one-year term in prison for Whiteside. His defense attorney argued he received a lesser sentence for having a clean record and having family obligations.
Constant, also of Chillicothe, killed himself in 2019, three days after being sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for wire fraud. Four other farmers, one from Missouri and three from Nebraska, received prison sentences for their role in the long-running scheme.