WHITEVILLE, NC (WECT) – A farmer from Whiteville was sentenced in federal court Thursday after pleading guilty to committing mail fraud.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, John Paul Smith was a farmer and grain broker who owned and operated a grain elevator in Clarkton and Whiteville.
Murphy Brown, LLC is a pork production subsidiary of Smithfield Foods located in Warsaw and used Smith as a broker to purchase corn, soybeans and wheat from local farmers for the Murphy Brown company.
According to terms of their agreement, Smith would enter information about the quantity and type of crops he purchased for Murphy Brown via an electronic invoice.
The Department of Justice says Smith entered incorrect data into the invoices, claiming to have purchased crops from two farmers when he had not done so.
According to the DOJ, Smith also changed the address of the farmers on the invoice so that the payment checks written by Murphy Brown would be sent to him.
Smith was sentenced to two years in jail, followed by three years of supervised release.
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