Farmer pleads guilty to stealing nearly $17 million from banks, others

A Louisiana man pleaded guilty to lying to financial institutions, insurance providers and government entities in an attempt to secure $17 million in loans and credit for his various farming enterprises, the Justice Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) said.

The agencies said Thomas Dickerson, 45, of Delhi, La., a farmer, pleaded guilty July 15 in federal court to making false statements to the Commodity Credit Corp. He faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution and a $10,000 fine. Sentencing is set for Nov. 6.

According to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana David C. Joseph, Dickerson lied on many of the applications he made to federally insured banks and various other organizations in order to obtain loans and other compensation by overstating or understating the amount of crops produced or claiming crops as collateral when he’d already sold the crops or didn’t possess them.

The U.S. Attorney said Dickerson stole $16,985,409 during the course of the scheme.

“This case should serve as a warning to those who engage in crooked financial schemes,” Joseph in a statement. “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting taxpayer money set aside to help our farmers and prosecuting those who cheat financial institutions and insurance companies for personal gain.”

Delhi farmer pleads guilty to lying to various business and government entities to steal nearly $17 million