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July 14--The federal trial for farming brothers Aaron Scott Johnson and Derek Martin Johnson of Northwood, N.D., has been delayed to Dec. 1. The Johnsons are accused of adding chemicals to potato seed production to fraudulently receive crop insurance compensation.
The trial initially was set to start July 15 in Fargo, but the Johnsons and their lawyer asked for more time to prepare. Prosecutor Nick Chase earlier said the court case could take seven to 10 days.
The case was filed in January 2014 and more allegations were added in April. Prosecutors say that from 2002 to 2010, the Johnsons and their Johnson Potato Co. received indemnity payments totaling more than $2 million, as well as crop disaster payments. They allegedly falsely reported that stored crops were damaged from soft rot, including $159,000 for the 2006 crop. They raised irrigated potatoes in the Cooperstown, N.D., area and nonirrigated potatoes elsewhere.
The Johnsons allegedly applied Rid-X, a chemical for dissolving solid materials in septic systems, and spoiled and rotten frozen potatoes to their stored crop in order to speed up deterioration. They are also accused of placing heaters in the warehouse.
(c)2014 Agweek Magazine (Grand Forks, N.D.)
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