Butler County Man Receives Probation for Selling Ginseng

A man was sentenced to probation and fined for buying and selling ginseng. Thomas Ridenhower, 57, pleaded guilty in March to a single charge of violating the federal Lacey Act. The court ordered him to pay a restitution of $32,503.76 to the state of Missouri. It also ordered him to pay a $55,000 fine in addition to the restitution amount. Ridenhower was also sentenced to five years probation. By his plea, he admitted he was a commercial buyer of ginseng in Reynolds County, Mo., operating under the name of Midwest Herb. Ginseng is a plant that is native to Missouri and harvested during a state authorized season for sale and export. Ridenhower admitted that he did not properly record a $28,750 purchase of ginseng from another person on the quarterly reporting form and that he intended to export the purchased ginseng in interstate and foreign commerce. This violated the federal Lacey Act, which makes it illegal to submit any false record of any plant that is intended to be transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

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