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Published January 12, 2011, 09:33 AM

NW Minnesota farmer pleads guilty to lying to USDA

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A farmer from northwestern Minnesota has pleaded guilty to lying to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a moldy beans scheme.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A farmer from northwestern Minnesota has pleaded guilty to lying to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a moldy beans scheme.

Thomas Chisholm of Gary was accused of putting moldy beans in a shipment of food destined for hungry families in Honduras, then lying to the USDA about the beans’ condition.

Chisholm pleaded guilty to causing the issuance of false official certificates.

Chisholm got a contract in February 2007 to provide dark red kidney beans for export to Honduras for the Food for Work program.

Officials say Chisholm had a load of beans that passed inspection. He relabeled that load and resubmitted it for inspection a second time, then told workers to substitute moldy beans for those two lots. When the shipments were opened in Honduras, the beans were spoiled.

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