Spink County Rancher Pays Government For False Drought Claim

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A Spink County rancher has settled with the government over a false claim for federal drought aid.

Authorities say Jason Sparling, of Athol, submitted an application for a disaster payment for a loss of grazing during the summer of 2014, and received nearly $100,000.

The federal Agriculture Department later determined that none of Sparling’s cattle were on drought-stricken pasture land.

U.S. Attorney Randolph Seiler says Sparling has paid the federal government $180,000 to settle the debt under the False Claims Act. Seiler says people who knowingly submit false claims are required to pay back more than they received.

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