A farmer and grain broker who was convicted of fraud for falsely labeling products as organic was found dead of apparent suicide, shortly before he was to begin serving a 10-year prison term.
The body of Randy Constant, 60, was discoveredAug. 19 inside a vehicle in a garage at his home in Chillicothe, Mo. His death was ruled a suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning.
Constant had been sentenced on Aug. 16 to 10 years in federal prison after being convicted of fraud. Prosecutors said that Constant, who owned an Iowa-based grain exchange, misrepresented huge amounts of corn and soybeans as organic when the crops were actually grown with pesticides and violated organic regulations in other ways.
The fraud involved such massive quantities of corn and soybeans, mostly used as animal feed, that they equaled up to 7% of the organic corn and 8% of the organic soybeans grown in the U.S. in 2016. Constant marketed more than 11.5 million bushels of phony organic grain from 2010 to 2017, authorities said.
Three codefendants, allegedly recruited by Constant into the scheme, also received prison sentences ranging from three months to two years.