Bakersfield man faces charges over fertilizer scam

Bakersfield man faces charges over fertilizer scam »Play Video
Benjamin Wagner, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California, discusses charges against a Bakersfield businessman accused of selling fertilizer under the false pretense that it was organic.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The U.S. Attorney's office is prosecuting 57-year-old Kenneth Noel Nelson for allegedly defrauding customers of his organic fertilizer business.

Nelson was indicted in federal district court on 28 counts of mail fraud relating to his scheme, said investigators.

U.S Attorney Benjamin Wagner said Nelson manufactured and sold fertilizers through Port Organic Products Ltd. and various affiliated businesses that he owned. Nelson allegedly defrauded his customers by falsely representing that his companies' fertilizers were organic products suitable for use in organic agriculture.

The indictment states that Nelson claimed the fertilizers were made with purely organic materials. Such organic materials are more costly than conventional, synthetic fertilizer materials and are sold at a higher price than conventional fertilizers.

By mixing in the cheaper ingredients, Nelson allegedly produced fertilizers at a lower cost than if he had used 100 percent organic materials, thereby increasing his profits.

If convicted, Nelson faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count and a fine of up to $250,000.