5 charged in Ohio in crop insurance fraud case

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted five southeastern Ohio men on charges including theft of public money in a scheme to defraud a federal crop assistance program.

A prosecutor's spokesman says the five also are charged with conspiracy and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Two of them also were indicted by the jury in Columbus on money laundering counts. The indictment seeks forfeiture of more than $1.5 million from the alleged crimes.

The men are accused of defrauding the federal Non-Insured Crop Assistance Program. It provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when a natural disaster causes low yields or loss of inventory or prevents planting.

The indictment says one man recruited the others to apply for payments and turn them over to him after keeping part for themselves.

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