AG warns about farmer settlement scam
BATON ROUGE - The state Attorney General's Office warned farmers today to watch out for scam artists offering help filling out claims in discrimination litigation involving the U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Sam Pleasant with the office's Public Protection Division said the deadline for black farmers to file claims for the settlement was May 2012. However, he said that hasn't stopped people from offering to help farmers file for the settlement if they pay a fee.
"We haven't received any reports of this happening in Louisiana - yet, but Mississippi has received reports that the scammers are at work there," Pleasant said in an emailed press release.
Federal courts approved the settlement in 2011, providing more than $1 billion to settle claims by African American farmers that the USDA discriminated against them based on race, wrongfully denied them farm loans, loan servicing and other benefits, or by giving them loans with unfair terms between 1981 and 1996.
To report a scam or file a complaint, contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 351-4889 or on the Attorney General's website.