Farmer faces up to 10 years after check fraud plea

By DEUCE NIVEN

    A farmer from Tabor City admitted guilt Tuesday in a financial scheme designed to avoid federal reporting requirements.
    Patrick Rex Lovett, 48, President of Lovett Farms, entered the guilty plea to a charge of structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements before U.S. District Court judge James C. Dever III in Raleigh, U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker said in a news release.
    Federal law requires reporting currency transactions greater than $10,000, Walker said. Lovett admitting to structuring transactions that totaled more than $160,000 during the course of nearly a year, from Oct. 8, 2008 through Sept. 14, 2009. Lovett cashed 22 checks, all less than $10,000, some tied to tobacco sales.
    Lovett could be sentenced to serve up to 10 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of $500,000. Sentencing is scheduled during the May 20 term of court.
    Walker said the case is part of an ongoing investigation invovling multi-million dollar crop insurance fraud in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
    Investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General and Risk Management Agency, and the Internal Revenue Service.

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