The former owner of a California fertilizer company will serve a year in federal prison for selling organic fertilizer that was not organic.
Peter Townsley was also fined $125,000 and upon leaving prison will live in a halfway house for six months while doing 1,000 hours of community service.
Townsley pleaded guilty in February to defrauding organic farmers with his “Biolizer XN” fertilizer. The product was approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute in 1998 but Townsley changed the formulation in 2000 and in 2001, adding ingredients not approved for organic crops. He continued to label the product as organic.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports by the time Townsley was caught in 2005, he had sold $6.5 million of Biolizer which was $2.5 million more than he would have made had it been sold as nonorganic.
Townsley apologized before being sentenced.