New Obama 'Pigford' Farmers Settlements Designed for Fraud

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Pigford

The Obama administration is rolling out a new USDA claims process that will allow Latinos, Hispanics or anyone of any race who is related to a woman (which means everyone) a $50,000 check if they’re willing to provide a couple of pages of paperwork and a notarized statement claiming that they or someone related to them "attempted to farm." 

This is a continuation of the Pigford “attempted to farm” payout scheme that was promoted, protected and perfected by Barack Obama and that has been the subject of a two-year investigation by Breitbart News.

The USDA said in a statement yesterday: 

This Administration has made it a priority to resolve all of the past program class action civil rights cases facing the Department, and today's announcement is another major step towards achieving that goal. In February 2010, the Secretary announced the Pigford II settlement with African American farmers, and in October 2010, he announced the Keepseagle settlement with Native American farmers. Both of those settlements have since received court approval. Unlike the cases brought by African American and Native American farmers, the cases filed by Hispanic and women farmers over a decade ago were not certified as class actions and are still pending in the courts as individual matters. The claims process provides a voluntary alternative to continuing litigation for Hispanic and female farmers and ranchers who want to use it.

Emphasis added to show that despite the fact that courts did not classify the women or Latino settlements as class action settlements. Instead, the Obama administration took it on its own initiative to make these payouts. The USDA was not forced into this settlement by court decision; President Obama built this.

To properly read between the lines in the bureaucratic doublespeak and intentionally dense legalese that makes up Farmers Settlement documentation, it is important to understand how fraud actually worked in Pigford. Fraud was not primarly people falsely claiming that they had farmed. It was actually much simpler than that. You did not need to prove that you actually farmed, only that you “attempted to farm.”

The low bar was a trick that the lawyers and politicians put into Pigford years ago; the “attempted to farm” standard. All you had to do was to say that you attempted to farm. In other words, you made the unprovable claim that you went to a USDA office and they did not even give you an application. Your lack of an application or any other documentary evidence became the proof that you had suffered discrimination.  

This was explained in an interview nearly two years ago with Thomas Burrell, the head of the Black Farmers Agricultural Associate. ,In this video, Mr. Burrell explains that over 90% of the people who collected $50,000 checks in Pigford were ‘attempted to farm’ claimants.

So far, billions of dollars have been given away to people who never farmed a day in their life--and the upcoming Pigford II extension that was introduced by Senator Obama and subsequently signed by President Obama will add billions more. In addition to these direct cost of payouts to ‘attempted to farm’ claimants, there are also untold millions or billions in waste, lost time and bad loans that were forced through by the USDA.

The women and Latino farmer settlements extend this same process that will lead to billions of dollars in fraudulent claims by people who are unable to avoid the temptation of easy money. This same “attempted to farm” standard is literally built right into the women and Latino farm settlements that Obama Administration’s USDA is offering.

There’s over $1 billion currently set aside specifically to pay off “attempted to farm“ claimants. The attempteds are described in the new settlement as Tier 1(a) claimants. According to the official government website FarmerClaims.GOV, the standard includes. 

If you are Hispanic, you farmed, or attempted to farm, between January 1, 1981, and December 31, 1996, or between October 13, 1998, and October 13, 2000; 

If you are female, you farmed, or attempted to farm, between January 1, 1981, and December 31, 1996, or between October 19, 1998, and October 19, 2000; 

You were the owner-operator or a tenant-operator of farm property, or you attempted to own or lease farm land, during the same time periods listed above; 

You applied for a farm loan or for farm-loan servicing at a USDA office during one of the time  periods listed above; or for those seeking a Tier 1(a) payment only, you made a bona fide effort to  apply for a farm loan or for farm-loan servicing, and USDA actively discouraged the application  during one of those  time periods;

Please note that you don’t even have to it on the land. All you have to do is to claim that you attempted to own or lease farmland, which means you say you did.

The official application checklist makes the ‘attempted to farm’ standard requirements clear; all you need is a sworn statement from ‘a witness’ saying you attempted.

Tier 1(a) (Attempted Application Only)

A sworn, veri? ed, or notarized witness statement, OR a contemporaneous written discrimination complaint to USDA, OR a document from a non-family member to you, or from you to a non-family member that supports your contentions

Here’s how this works in practice. Let’s say your mother passed away 10 years ago. No problem, you can file on her behalf. In order to collect $50,000, you would need to file in her name and get a sworn statement from someone saying that she went to the USDA during the proper time period but the mean, racist, sexist people there would not even give your dear mother an application. Could you make that sworn statement yourself? I don’t see anything that would keep that from happening. However, with the lure of a $50,000 check to jog their memory, it shouldn’t be hard to find a witness or two.

Better hurry. You only have until March 2013 to file.


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