Calif. fertilizer firm chief indicted for fraud

AP News
Posted: Mar 10, 2011 7:15 PM
Calif. fertilizer firm chief indicted for fraud

The president of a California company been indicted on charges of defrauding customers by selling synthetic fertilizers that it claimed were organic.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner says a federal grand jury returned its indictment Thursday against Port Organic Products Ltd. president Kenneth Nelson Jr.

The 57-year-old Bakersfield resident was indicted on 28 counts of mail fraud. Prosecutors say he faces up to 20 years in prison on each count if convicted.

Nelson did not return a phone message.

Federal agents raided Port Organic in January 2009 after county inspectors found thousands of gallons of a synthetic fertilizer ingredient at the site.

News of the raid came as a blow to the integrity of the organic market and prompted new industry efforts to test and verify fertilizers.