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COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A federal judge has sentenced a Tabor City farmer for his role in a tobacco insurance fraud scam.

The judge sentenced Patrick Rex Lovett, 48, to five years probation and nine months house arrest. He also must pay a $10,000 fine and forfeit $160,696.

Prosecutors say Lovett structured 22 currency transactions totaling $160,696 with banks to evade the legal obligation to report currency transactions worth more than $10,000. They say six of the transactions, worth $49,118, were related to the sale of hidden tobacco, which were not reported to the US Department of Agriculture or on Lovett’s tax returns.

The US Attorney’s Office says the case is part of the ongoing investigation of multi-million-dollar crop insurance fraud in Columbus County.

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