Newspaper Archive of
Bath County News - Outlook
Owingsville, Kentucky
May 13, 2021     Bath County News - Outlook
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May 13, 2021

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(USPS 145260) 50 Cents Vol. 155 No.19 Shop LOCAL - Eat LOCAL Support LOCAL 1' Prior: LE - W.M, pm $2 r" V‘s. C: i ‘4 i ,IBA ‘.. 'vr' .l./\~Jl“«. : 71 Miller l)r., Owingsville, KY #10360 l’l1.: Gilli—(37.179991 “lll'. Bill” Grimes recognized tor Older Americans Month photo by Cecil Lawson Bill Grimes, with the NewHope Clinic in Owingsville, re- ceived a certificate of recognition last Wednesday morn- ing for Older Americans Month from Owingsville Mayor Gary Hunt. By Cecil Lawson KyNewsGroup _w‘c,ec~ilfi@kmewsgroup.com May is Older Americans Month, and each year Ow- ingsville Mayor Gary Hunt recognizes an older indi- vidual in the community who continues to remain active and make valuable contributions. This year Hunt recog- nized Bill Grimes, “Dr. Bill,” as many locally know him, for his ongoing work with the NewHope Clinic in Owingsville. Grimes and others helped to found the Ne- wHope Clinic in October 2000 to serve the needs of the uninsured and underin- sured in Bath and Menifee Counties. Since that time, the clinic has provide 42,100 volun- teer hours, 39,000 patient visits, and has had 3653 pa- tients in that time. Grimes said he was moved to do something for the under-and uninsured after a former patient of his had died of a long undiag— nosed lung cancer. He said she had put off going to the doctor until she had saved enough money to pay for the visit. Grimes said that showed him that the health insur- ance system in the United States doesn’t work well, and he and others worked to provide a bare minimum access to health care. He said~ he was also in- spired by the message of Matthew 25: “For I was hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed; I was sick, and ye visited me “This was a way to put my faith into action, Grimes said. The operation of the Ne- wHope Clinc subsists en- tirely on community dona- tions, including volunteer medical services. Grimes said be appreciated the generosity of the People’s Bank, as well as the Ne- wHope’s building’s previ- ous owners, for allowing them to be there rent- and utility free. Mayor Hunt recognized Grimes ongoing contribu- tions to the clinic and the community. “As a city we are also a part of this clin- ic,” Hunt noted. Hunt also serves on the clinic’s gov. erning board. The NewHope Clinic is located at 41 South Court Street in Owingsville, be- hind the old courthouse, and is open on Thursdays from 8:30 am. to 3 pm. Their phone number is 674—8822 SUNNY SLOPE PRODUCE Now Open Over 10 variety of vegetable plants Peppers, Watermelon, Canta/oupe, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Lettuce, Cabbage, Kale All plants $0.50 or less m Mon. -Sat. 8am to 6pm Closed Sunday ’ 606-210-1991 Leave Message 4126 East Hwy 60 Owingsville Ky 8L LOGGING 606-845-871 8 Timber Management I Logging Fence Boards l Barn Siding Sawdust l Firewood fraud. A nurmhm ‘1 l ,p N rwsGmnm Bringing you Bath County’s News Since 1884 Both Count I Thursday, May 13, 2021 Local Farmers Plea Guilty to Charges Related to Crop Insurance Fraud Several Central Kentucky men, Roger Wilson, Robert Livingood, John Watkins, and Morgan Wayne Culb- ertson pleaded guilty in fed- eral court Monday, to charg- es related to crop insurance fraud. Roger Wilson, 88, former owner of Clay’s Tobacco Warehouse and current owner of Ag Wood, Inc., both in Mt. Sterling, Ken- tucky, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit crop insurance fraud before US. District Judge Karen K Caldwell. Wilson admitted that between September 2013 and May 2018, he ar- ranged for farmers to pur- chase poor quality tobacco to present to tobacco grad- ers, so the farmers could receive poor quality tobacco grades to report to on their federally-backed tobacco in- surance (called multi—‘pefil' crop insurance or “MPCI”) claims of loss. Wilson fur- ther admitted he knew his actions were designed to facilitate the filing of false claims of loss, which in turn caused the federal govern- ment to pay out indemnity payments, or to increase the amountof those payments, to farmers who were not en- titled to them. Robert Livingood, 64, a farmer who owns and rents tobacco farmland in Bour- bon, Fleming, Harrison, and Nicholas Counties, also pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit crop insurance Livingood admit- ted that, in Crop Year 2014, he submitted a false MPCI claim of loss, by submitting fake tobacco sales bills he obtained from Clays To- bacco Warehouse and un- derreporting the amount of tobacco production he had that year. He further admit- ted to selling muddy tobac- co, which he knew would be used by other farmers to obtain fake grade reports. According to his plea agree- ment, Livingood also ob- tained MPCI policies in his son’s name, in Crop Years 2014 and 2015, even though the crop ensured in his son’s name actually belonged to Livingood. As a result of his misrepresentations, Liv- ingood caused a loss to the federal government of ap- proximately $313,652. John D. Watkins, 49, a farmer who owns and rents tobacco farmland in Bath, Fleming, and Nicholas Counties, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit crop insurance fraud and one count of crop insurance fraud. In his plea agreement, Watkins admit- ted to failing to report his to- tal tobacco production from Crop Years 2011 through 2014, which influenced the federal government to pay out sums of indemnity pay- ments to which he was not ' entitled. He furtheradr'nit— ted to having an agreement with Kevin Watkins, his co— defendant, to handle Kevin Watkins’s MPCI paperwork and to fail to accurately report Kevin Watkins’s to- bacco production, likewise influencing the federal gov- ermnent to pay out indemni- ty payments to which Kevin Watkins was not entitled. Morgan Wayne Culbert- son, 33, a farmer with tobac- co farmland in Montgomery, Clark, and Bath Counties, also pleaded guilty today to a conspiracy to commit crop insurance fraud. Accord-' ing to his plea agreement, Culbertson underreported his crop production on his MPCI claims of loss, by, among other things, selling tobacco for cash at Clay’s Tobacco Warehouse .and failing to report tobacco he sold in others’ names. He also admitted to obtaining fake grade sheets by pay- ing $0.20 per pound to ob tain quality adjustments on the tobacco production he did report In Crop Years 2015 and 2016, Culbertson also failed to report his to- tal production on his own policies. He also obtained policies and filed claims of loss, including fake sale bills from Clay’s Tobacco Ware- house, on MPCI policies in the names" of his brother (2014 and 2015), grandfa- ther (2014 and 2015), and mother (2015 and 2016). Previously, two other farmers, Jesse Smith and R. Chad Price, pleaded guilty to crop insurance fraud re- lated offenses. On April 29, 2021, Jesse Smith, 56, plead- ed guilty to committing crop insurance fraud. On May 5, 2021 Price, 39, pleaded guilty to conspiring to com- mit crop insurance fraud and tax evasion. Smith and Price both admitted to work- ing with others to Submit false MPCI claims of loss. Acting US. Attorney Carlton S. Shier IV; Jason M. Williams, Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector Gen- eral; Bryant Jackson, Spe- cial Agent in Charge, IRS — Criminal Investigation; James Robert Brown, Jr. Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investi- gation, Louisville Field Of- ficez, and Sharon H Clark, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Insurance jointly announced the guilty pleas. The investigation was con- ducted by the United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General; United States Department of Agriculture Risk Manage ment Agency; Internal Rev- enue Service, Criminal In- vestigation; Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Kentucky Department of In- surance. The United States was represented by Assis- tant US. Attorneys Kathryn Anderson and Erin Roth. Jesse Smith and R. Chad Price face a maximum sen- tence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000Jesse Smith, R. Chad Price, Roger Wilson. John D. Watkins are scheduled to be sentenced on August 19, 2021. Wilson faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, while Wat— kins faces a maximum of thirty years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000. Robert Livingood and Morgan Cul- bertson face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 and are scheduled to be sentenced on August 12, 2021. Any sentence will be imposed by the Court, after its consideration of the US. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statutes. This ongoing crop insur- ance fraud investigation, which stretches back nearly a decade, has resulted in the arrests of dozens of farmers across Central Kentucky. News of the investigation ‘ first brokeawhenFBI, IRS, and USDA officials descend- ed upon the homes of Earl Planck, Jr. of Moorefield and insurance agent Michael McNew in Mt. Sterling, and Wilson’s business in Mt Sterling in December 2014. McNew pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme last year and is scheduled to be sen- tenced in August Planck has pleaded not guilty, and court records indicate a jury trial in his case is scheduled to begin on June 21. Seventeen other Central Kentucky tobacco farmers settled civil cases last Oc- tober in which they were accused of falsely report: ing federal crop insurance claims. Some of the farm- ers filedthe claims but then sold their tobacco at Clay’s Tobacco Warehouse, while others had indemnity claims filed in their names for crops in which they had only par- tial or no ownership, in or-' der to hide the real owners. These false claims resulted in $900,000 in indemnity payments, according to the US Attorney’s Office in Lex- ington. Large Selection of Double Sided, Pillow Top and Pocketed Coil Mattress Sets. photos courtesy of Jason York The Bath County Masonic Lodge 55 recently presented the NewHope Clinic in Ow- ingsville with a $1000 do- nation. Shown above is Bill Grimes accepting the check from Lodge Grand Master Mike Gray. 8 10499 02178 9 10-15 year full warranty. t} t Pallets Custom Sawing Buylng All Grades of Export Logo Including WelnutAnd Low Grade Logs es Well Specialized Logging - Directional Falling ' Certified Master loggers ‘674 Turner Road, Flemingsburg, KY 41041