Feb 11, 2020 12:46 PM

Farmer to pay over $600,000 back in fraud case

Posted Feb 11, 2020 12:46 PM

WICHITA, Kan. — A Kansas farmer was sentenced on Monday to 30 months for federal crop insurance fraud and bankruptcy fraud, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay $604,303 in restitution.

Kevin W. Struss, 63, Wakeeney, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of defrauding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s crop insurance program, which provides government insurance against unavoidable crop losses. He made false statements in which he under-reported his total 2015 corn crop by approximately 23,524 bushels, and his total sorghum/milo crop by 31,208 bushels.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of bankruptcy fraud. He falsely answered “no” to a question in his bankruptcy filing about whether he had transferred property to anyone else recently. In fact he made two transfers of $150,000 and $320,000 to another person in 2018.

McAllister commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger for their work on the case.

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Feb 11, 2020 12:46 PM
Mitigation burning in Reno County completed Monday

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Hutchinson fire officials have completed their planned mitigation burning for the year.

In a message posted on Facebook Monday, the department thanked the public for its patience while they burned off vegetation on the east side of Plum between 69th and 108th Avenue on Monday.

Earlier, they had burned off areas along 82nd Avenue between Monroe and Plum and East 69th Avenue in the Sand Hills State Park area.

The concern is that the moisture over the winter has been enough to leave a lot of potential fuel during the spring wildfire season.

The department also thanked its partners Reno Fire District #3, Reno Emergency Management, Reno County Sheriff's Department, Reno County Public Works, and Kansas Forest Service. The department said, "All our crews gained great experience and training while providing a tactical advantage if a wildfire occurs in this area."