Sunday, March 24, 2024

Colorado ranchers get prison time, millions in fines for tampering with rain gauges

 Two southeast Colorado ranchers were sentenced to prison and must pay $6.5 million in fines after pleading guilty to tampering with rain gauges in order to collect crop insurance.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Patrick Esch and Ed Jagers, of Springfield, Colorado, conspired to defraud insurance programs by making it seem that there was less precipitation in their area than there actually was. 

Federal prosecutors said that between July 2016 and June 2017, the pair damaged rain gauges in the region to prevent them from accurately measuring rainfall. Esch and Jagers cut wires on automated rain gauges, some used as official records by NOAA and the National Weather Service. They tipped over some collecting buckets, covered others with pie pans and agricultural disks and plugged another gauge with silicone caulk...more

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