ALBANY, N.Y. - A farmer from Rensselaer County has been convicted of fraud after USDA officials say he bought wholesale meat and re-sold it as "farm fresh" or "organic" in greenmarkets in New York City and Greene County.
Craig Acton of Hoosic River Poultry, a farm located at 2226 Fire House Road in Buskirk, N.Y. was sentenced to two years probation and 50 hours of community service by Judge Gary Sharpe in Federal Court Tuesday morning.
In June 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General received a hotline complaint alleging Acton, the owner and operator of Hoosic River Poultry, repacked meat products and sold the repacked meat product at the NYC greenmarkets to an unsuspecting public.
The complaint also alleged that the labels paced on the repacked product were false and contained a false USDA inspection legend stamp, according to court documents.
Acton marked his products as farm raised and free-range animals using no medications, and containing no hormones. However, he later admitted in an interview with USDA Special Agent Brian Kees that he bought his meat from a wholesaler for about $1,200 to $1,300 per week and would repackage it with the faulty labels and sell them at the greenmarkets for approximately $5,000 cash, according to court documents.
Court documents show Acton had been doing this from January 1, 2010 to June 29, 2011 in Green County and elsewhere.
Hoosic River Poultry and their products were featured on the Real Times Farms website.
Acton pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized use of USDA inspection legend with intent to defraud, a felony.