5/5/17 – A Beaver Dam man will spend six months in a federal prison for defrauding the US Department of Agriculture. Jeffrey Lewke was convicted in November of federal crop insurance fraud, following a long-term investigation by the ag department’s Inspector General. As part of his plea agreement, the 39-year-old acknowledged that during the 2011 crop season, he falsely claimed that he irrigated 120 acres of land in Waushara County more times than he did. In total, Lewke submitted over $246-thousand dollars’ worth of fraudulent insurance claims backed by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. That year, Lewke also falsely claimed that he was unable to plant because of excessive moisture when in fact he never attempted to plant anything. Lewke also “shifted” his production claiming he produced corn in Dodge County when in fact the corn was planted in Clark County. As a result, he claimed another $70-thousand dollars in losses. At Lewke’s sentencing hearing, District Judge Pamela Pepper described the federal crop insurance program at as a “safety net” for farmers in need, from which Lewke stole while he was enjoying the financial success of farming over 12-thousand acres. In addition to six months in prison, Lewke was also ordered to serve six months of home confinement, pay a $2000 fine and pay nearly $24-thousand dollars in restitution to the USDA.
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