Oct. 31--RALEIGH -- A Robeson County farmer, who threatended to murder a federal agent, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to insurance fraud, U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker said.
Harry Dean Canady, 63, of Lumberton, was sentenced in federal court today by Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever III.
Canady pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make false statements, to make material false statements and to commit mail and wire fraud, false statements to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, aggravated identity theft, felon in unlawful possession of a fire arm and retaliation against a federal official on Dec. 19, Walker said.
"This investigation exemplifies how our nation's law enforcement officers place their lives at risk in the investigations of crimes, even white collar offenses," Walker said in a news release.
Canady owned and rented farmland in Robeson County and produced various crops including tobacco, corn, wheat and soybeans, according to court documents.
From August 2006 to December 2009, Canady conspired with others to commit fraud against the federal crop insurance program.
He worked with co-conspiring insurance agents, brokers and others to make false insurance claims to hide his crop production by selling it under the names of his family members.
Canady was paid twice for each pound or bushel, Walker said, because he was paid through the insurance claim and paid for the sale of the tobacco or grain.
He obtained a total of more than $1 million in insurance payments, Walker said.
During the investigation, law enforcement found Canady, a felon, was in possession of six firearms and 180 rounds of ammunition.
Walker said Canady knew about the investigation since 2008 and made several threats against investigating agents. On Jan. 23, 2012, Canady threatened to assault and murder a United State Department of Agriculture agent, Walker said.
A Columbus County farmer was also sentenced by Dever todayto five years probation and nine months of house arrest.
Patrick Rex Lovett, 48, of Tabor City pleaded guilty Feb. 19 to structuring transactions to evade reporting them, Walker said.
According to Walker, Lovett made 22 different transactions worth $160,696 to various financial institutions to avoid legally reporting the income.
Some of the money was for the unreported sales of tobacco, Walker said. Lovett did not initially report the income on his tax returns.
The investigation of Lovett is part of an ongoing investigation into a larger insurance fraud in Columbus County, Walker said.
Staff writer Caitlin Dineen can be reached at Dineenc@fayobserver.com or 486-3509.
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