- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2016

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - An Athol man accused of submitting a false claim for the loss of grazing land under the Livestock Forage Disaster Program has pleaded not guilty.

Authorities say 42-year-old Jason Sparling submitted the claim even though he knew he didn’t meet the requirements to qualify for a disaster payment.

Sparling is also accused of falsely saying in a document that he had entered into an oral contract with someone else to co-share cattle grazing on land in Fall River County in 2012.

If convicted, Sparling faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release, plus $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution could also be ordered.

An attorney for Sparling didn’t immediately return a telephone message requesting comment.

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