Feb 29, 2012
Guilty plea in organic fraud case

Peter Townsley, former president of the fertilizer company California Liquid Fertilizer, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud in connection with selling synthetic fertilizer for use on organic farms. The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of California announced in February that Townsley admitted to falsely representing his fertilizer as suitable for use on USDA organic operations when, in fact, it contained ammonium chloride, a prohibited substance identified on the national list, according to USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP).

The sentencing of Townsley is scheduled for June 13, before Judge Charles R. Breyer in San Francisco. The maximum statutory penalty for each violation is 20 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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