Bakersfield man gets federal prison time for fertilizer scam

FRESNO, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - A Bakersfield man was sentenced Monday to more than six years in federal prison for defrauding customers of his organic fertilizer business.

Kenneth Noel Nelson was charged in March 2011 with 28 federal counts of mail fraud relating to his scheme.

Nelson manufactured and sold fertilizers through Port Organic Products Ltd. and various affiliated businesses that he owned. Nelson was accused of defrauding customers by falsely representing that his fertilizers were organic and suitable for use in organic agriculture.

By mixing in the cheaper ingredients, Nelson was accused of producing fertilizers at a lower cost than if he had used 100 percent organic materials, thereby increasing his profits.

In August, Nelson admitted guilt in four counts of mail fraud. He also agreed to forfeit a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado, a 2005 Mini Cooper, a 2004 Porsche Cayenne and a personal money judgment of $9 million.

Nelson faced a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each mail fraud count.