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Man Sentenced To Jail For False Label

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Man Sentenced To Jail For False Label

Fake Organic Label Leads To Prison

In the rush to label products as "organic," sometimes, marketers lose sight of compliance. It's become an all-out labeling war to see who can market their products as the most green, but marketers who cut corners beware: it could land you jail time.

That's the case for Peter Townsley, who was ordered to serve one year in federal prison for scamming customers out of $2.5 million by mislabeling his products with sham "organic" labels for six years, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Fertilizer Label Was Falsified
Townsley is the former owner of Salinas-based California Liquid Fertilizer. In addition to his one-year prison sentence for the label scam, he will also face $125,000 in fines and 1,000 community service hours on an actual organic farm - some true poetic justice.

Prosecutors said Townsley defrauded organic farmers by mislabeling ingredients in Biolizer XN, one of his company's leading products. In his guilty plea, Townsley said he changed the formula of the fertilizer in 2000 and 2001 to add ingredients prohibited in organic farming, yet continued to label the product as "organic."

The labeling fiasco had repercussions down the supply chain, as suppliers unaware of the mislabeling sold it to organic farmers who then suffered losses because of the fraud fertilizer.