Farmer charged with lying to USDA about moldy beansby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A federal grand jury has indicted a northwestern Minnesota farmer, charging that he lied to the U.S. Department of Agriculture about adding moldy beans to a load of already inspected beans to be sent to Honduras.
Thomas Matthew Chisholm, 37, was indicted Wednesday with causing the issuance of false official certificates.
According to the indictment, Chisholm caused the USDA to issue a false inspection certificate in March 2007. He allegedly ordered workers to substitute the inspected kidney beans for uninspected moldy beans when the lots were scheduled to be shipped to Honduras for a Food for Work program.
The USDA had awarded Chisholm a contract to supply beans for the program.
The beans were found to be moldy and spoiled when they arrived in Honduras, federal prosecutors said.
Chisholm could not immediately be reached for comment and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.
The indictment comes after an investigation by the USDA and the U.S. Agency for International Development.