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Published July 14, 2010, 04:49 PM

Feds: Gary, Minn., farmer committed moldy-bean fraud

A Gary, Minn., farmer is accused of sneaking loads of moldy kidney beans into shipments that were sent to Honduras as part of a U.S.-sponsored food-for-work program.

A Gary, Minn., farmer is accused of sneaking loads of moldy kidney beans into shipments that were sent to Honduras as part of a U.S.-sponsored food-for-work program.

Thomas Matthew Chisholm, 37, was indicted today in federal court for allegedly replacing beans certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with the moldy beans.

In March 2007, Chisholm, under contract with the USDA, supplied 300 metric tons of kidney beans in four lots to be inspected by the department before they were shipped to Honduras.

When one lot passed inspection, prosecutors say, Chisholm re-submitted that same lot for inspection two more times. After inspection certificates were issued, Chisholm allegedly told his workers to swap uninspected moldy beans for those two lots. When those shipments arrived in Honduras, the beans were moldy and spoiled, prosecutors say.

Chisholm is charged with two counts of causing the issuance of false official certificates. Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Court officials said Chisholm does not have an attorney on record. His phone number is not listed.

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