A 68-year-old grain farmer in northwestern Minnesota has been charged with receiving more than $540,000 by filing false insurance claims that reported weather-related crop damage in recent years.

Kevan J. Nelson sought unwarranted payouts in connection with his claim of corn and soybean crops in Becker and Clay counties that were "lost to excessive moisture," according to the felony charge filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

In 2018 and 2019, Nelson "falsely reported losses in those years to obtain crop insurance payments to which he was not entitled, resulting in his receipt of $548,695 in fraudulent payments," the court filing said.

The payments were processed by a private insurance company and sponsored by an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Nelson was charged by what is called information, meaning that he's notified authorities of his intention to plead guilty.

Paul Walsh