Crop insurance agent accused of defrauding taxpayers

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A crop insurance agent in Kentucky is facing federal charges alleging she defrauded taxpayers of $169,000. The agent is accused of helping farmers inflate tobacco crop losses and collect insurance money and then helping them sell their burley at market.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Debra Muse of Fleming County was indicted on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and 27 counts of making false statements on crop-insurance statements and reports.

Muse's lawyer, John Helmuth of Lexington, had no comment on Monday.

The indictment appears to be the first issued since a federal investigation into crop insurance fraud became public in 2015.

The alleged conspiracy at the heart of that investigation involved central Kentucky tobacco farmers, crop insurance agents, crop insurance adjustors and tobacco warehouse owners/employees and others.

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