Prosecutors say they plan to show that a Barnes County farmer defrauded the government of some $14 million in farm aid over 12 years.
Jury selection was to start Thursday in federal court in the trial of Duane Huber, 58, of Wimbledon. He is accused of operating "sham" farms in three east-central North Dakota counties from 1988 until 2000.
The farmer's son, Steven Huber, 28, of Grand Forks, is accused of taking part in the scheme by falsifying documents.
Both men have pleaded innocent.
Through the sham farms, Duane Huber evaded payment limitations for U.S. Department of Agriculture benefits, the indictment says.
Investigators have thousands of records in the case and prosecutors have hundreds of exhibits that may be entered as evidence, Assistant U.S. Attorney Clare Hochhalter said. The investigation began in 1999, he said.
The trial could last as long as three weeks, Hochhalter said.
Duane Huber faces 20 felony charges, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, wire fraud, mail fraud and filing false income tax statements.
Steve Huber is charged with seven counts, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, filing false income tax statements and providing false statements to the USDA.
Duane Huber was set to change his plea to guilty in September, under an agreement that lawyers said called for charges against Steven Huber to be dismissed. But the elder Huber decided to change lawyers instead, and the proposed agreement was withdrawn.