Local Potato Growers Accused of Defrauding Fed. Govt. Acquitted - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local Potato Growers Accused of Defrauding Fed. Government Acquitted

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RICHLAND, Wash. - A federal jury has acquitted a Kennewick insurance agent and four local potato farmers who were accused of defrauding the federal government of nearly $10 million.

The verdict came Wednesday in a trial that lasted nearly two months.

Federal prosecutors had said insurance agent Fred Ackerman and the growers created false revenue losses to cheat the government.

However, the jury acquitted the defendants on one count and told the judge they could not reach a unanimous verdict on the three remaining counts.

The judge declared a mistrial on those counts and told prosecutors they have two weeks to decide whether to seek a retrial on the remaining charges.

Eight other charges were dismissed by U.S. District Judge Ed Shea during the trial.