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Fertilizer Seller Faces Prison Time

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 7:37am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The former president of Salinas Valley farming company has been sentenced to nearly a year in prison after pleading guilty to falsely labeling chemical-based fertilizer as organic.

Federal officials say Peter Townsley, who formerly operated California Liquid Fertilizer in Gonzales, was sentenced to 364 days in prison and fined $125,000 Wednesday in federal court. He had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud.

Officials say Townsley admitted that he changed the ingredients of his fertilizer to include ammonium chloride and ammonium sulfate after it received an organic certificate from the Organic Materials Review Institute. Both chemicals are prohibited from use in products labeled organic.

The 50-year-old Canadian was also ordered to serve six months of house arrest upon his release from jail and perform 1,000 hours of community service.

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