Tom Vilsack and the USDA have made the point over and over again that there have been only three convictions for fraud in the 18,000 or so paid Pigford settlements — a very small amount, it would seem. In this video interview, Vilsack makes the point around 50 seconds in that only three case were found to be “marginally questionable.”
In the below exclusive interview, I talk to Paul Pinkham, a reporter for the Florida Times Union, who was in court for the three Pigford fraud convictions that happened in Jacksonville.
What you’ll hear is that the fraud convictions actually pointed to many, many more crimes because there was testimony that there was a fraud ring that taught people how to file a false claim. Furthermore, convicted fraudster Emma Brooks said that the fraud ring told her the payments were restitution for slavery. It’s clear that these three convictions aren’t isolated cases of fraud and the government, apparently, has never actively pursued the fraud ring.
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In the coming weeks, Big Government will reveal evidence that proves conclusively just how easy it is to commit fraud in Pigford and will settle once and for all the question of whether these fraud rings exist.
For more on the Jacksonville case, please see our Pigford investigation resources.