WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Greene, Wayne, Lenoir farmer charged with crop insurance fraud

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RALEIGH (AP) — Federal prosecutors have accused a North Carolina man of stealing more than $5 million in federal crop insurance funds over a four-year period.

U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. said in a news release multiple charges are filed against 43-year-old James Scott Wiggins of Wayne County, including making false statements to federal agencies and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Officials said Wiggins and his co-conspirators owned and rented farmland in Lenoir, Wayne, and Greene counties. Higdon said that between 2007 and 2011, the conspirators collectively filed false crop insurance and federal crop disaster relief claims, manipulated transactions to evade reporting requirements and engaged in various financial transactions to conceal the fraud.

According to Higdon, the conspirators paid farming expenses and outstanding loan balances with the money secured through the fraud.

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