From the L.A. Times:
To organic farmers, Kenneth Noel Nelson Jr. was the man with the golden manure: It was rich with Mother Nature's finest waste, robust for the soil and cheap in price.
But to federal prosecutors in California, Nelson's organic fertilizer empire had developed a stench.
On Thursday a federal grand jury indicted Nelson on 28 counts of mail fraud in connection with an alleged years-long scheme to dupe farmers and agriculture product distributors. The indictment accused Nelson, 57, of selling premium-priced liquid fertilizer touted as made from all-natural products such as fish meal and bird guano that instead was spiked with far cheaper synthetic chemicals.
The scheme, according to the federal indictment, enabled Nelson to become the largest purveyor of organic fertilizer to farmers in the western half of the U.S. and pull in at least $9 million in sales from 2003 to 2009.