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Prosecutors outline previous case against farmer

KFGO file image
KFGO file image

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Prosecutors say one of two Cooperstown, North Dakota brothers accused of scamming the government out of $2 million in crop insurance payments orchestrated a similar scheme nearly 20 years ago, but only pocketed about $33,000.

Fifty-year-old Aaron Johnson and 47-year-old Derek Johnson are accused of conspiring to receive illegal payments by intentionally destroying potatoes. They have pleaded not guilty.

Aaron Johnson pleaded guilty in a similar case in 1995. Court documents filed Friday say he falsely claimed he and his brother produced about 9,500 hundredweight of potatoes, when it was actually more than 76,000 hundredweight.

Prosecutors said Aaron Johnson obtained a book of blank scale tickets from the Northwood Elevator, falsified 21 scale tickets and submitted them to the government.

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