- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

SPINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The owners of a central Illinois farming business that will pay $5.3 million to settle allegations it faked partnerships to avoid limits on subsidies say they did nothing wrong.

The Department of Justice on Wednesday said Dowson Farms of Divernon agreed to the settlement. The department accused three of the owners of creating fake partnerships in the names of employees to bypass caps on subsidies between 2002 and 2008. The three didn’t admit any wrongdoing.

In a statement emailed Thursday, the owners said they had U.S. Department of Agriculture officials look over their legal structure before applying for subsidies.

One of the owners, John Dowson, said they agreed to the deal only to be done with their legal battle with the government.