The California Department of Food and Agriculture officials told the judge in their comments that Townsley’s scheme resulted in additional regulations in the state that annually cost the organic industry $400,000 in increased fees and testing.
In its request for a 46-month sentence, the U.S. Attorney’s office said that Townsley not only intentionally perpetrated the fraud, but that he continued to do so while ducking investigators. He further showed a lack of remorse by “backing away from what he admitted in the plea agreement” when he was interviewed by the federal probation officer, according to court documents.
“At any time, Townsley could have made the right choice and stopped selling Biolizer XN, but it is clear that he was motivated by one thing — greed,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said in its sentence recommendation.
The judge noted in an order related to the calculation of losses of victims in the case that “(the) defendant spends much of his briefing running away from his plea and the facts and evidence as presented in this case.”
Townsley submitted numerous letters from friends and family, including his elderly and ailing parents, which described him as law-abiding and remorseful. Townsley also said state and federal governments were partially to blame because they failed to effectively enforce organic certification regulations.