Aug 25, 2011 • This February with the help of Landsat a California farmer was found guilty of committing crop insurance fraud in San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Lassen counties. The farmer was fined $10,000 dollars, ordered to pay $211,516 in restitution, and sentenced to serve two and a half years in prison.

After a long investigation conducted by a host of U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies (USDA), U.S. Attorneys were able to prove that crop insurance fraud had been committed. To make their case, the attorneys relied heavily on Landsat data. More than 150 scenes collected between 2000–2005, 2009, and 2010 were used to confirm that false crop failure claims were made by the defendant. The depth of the Landsat archive was essential to the USDA investigation and the eight day repeat cycle of Landsats 5 and 7 enabled imagery corresponding to the exact days of some USDA field visits to be used during the fraud inquiry. Landsat-derived information helped prove that the farmer had wrongly received over $140,000 in crop insurance payments. The investigation also halted the farmer’s attempt to receive an additional $200,000 in false claims. Sentencing took place on July 6, 2011.

Further Information:
+ Stockton farmer sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for crop insurance fraud, Department of Justice
Saving Millions in Government Dollars: Landsat Helps Fight Crop Insurance Fraud