Local News

Two sentenced in crop insurance fraud case

Posted December 8, 2009 4:20 p.m. EST

— Two men were placed on probation Tuesday for their roles in a crop insurance fraud and money laundering scheme, authorities said.

Roland D. McCoy Jr., of Zebulon, and Robert Thomas Veasey, of Durham, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to launder money generated through the filing of false tobacco insurance claims with the government. McCoy was placed on probation for five years, while Veasey must serve three years on probation.

Wilson insurance agent Robert "Carl" Stokes pleaded guilty in October to heading up the scheme. He owned Hallmart Agency Inc. and sold crop insurance policies for agricultural products, including tobacco.

Federal agents say he posted some of the highest numbers for crop losses among insurance agents across the country. After an undercover sting operation, agents said they determined that some of his business dealings were fraudulent.

Part of the conspiracy was selling tobacco under other people's names to conceal the actual farmers’ true tobacco production totals. People received money in exchange for the use of their names as the actual grower, facilitating false federal crop insurance claims by the actual farmers, authorities said.

Veasey allowed a Wilson tobacco broker to sell tobacco in his name and helped convert the proceeds to cash, authorities said. McCoy, a farmer, worked with another tobacco broker to sell his tobacco in the names of other people to hide his true tobacco

Ten other people have been convicted in the scheme, and the case remains under investigation.