Delhi farmer admits to stealing $17 million from farm program

Posted at 4:10 PM, Jul 16, 2019

A Delhi farmer has admitted that he stole nearly $17 million through the farm commodity credit program.

Thomas Dickerson, 45, admitted that he lied to several financial institutions, insurance providers and government entities in an effort to obtain nearly $17 million illegally. He pleaded guilty to making false statements to the Commodity Credit Corporation.

According to the guilty plea, Dickerson was a Franklin Parish Louisiana farmer who, during the 2015 crop year, used at least 13 farming entities he was either a part of or was the sole owner of to certify farming acreage in Catahoula, Franklin, Tensas, Richland, Madison and Morehouse parishes in Louisiana, as well as Ashley, Chicot and Drew Counties in Arkansas.

Dickerson admitted that he applied for crop production and grain storage loans from AG Resource Management, farm operating loans from various FDIC insured banking entities, credit from seed and chemical dealers such as Greenpoint AG LLC and Jimmy Sanders Seed, advances on contracts with Kennedy Rice Dryers, insurance policies and claims from Producers Agriculture Insurance Company and CGB Insurance Company, and several marketing assistance loans from the Commodity Credit Corporation.

Dickerson lied on many of these applications 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. He stole $16,985,409.71 during the course of the scheme, court records show.

“This case should serve as a warning to those who engage in crooked financial schemes,” said US Attorney David C. Joseph stated. “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. The defendant’s conduct in this case not only caused significant financial loss to victims throughout northeast Louisiana, but also undermined the integrity of our agricultural finance system. This type of behavior will not be tolerated in the Western District of Louisiana.”

Dickerson faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution and a $10,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for November 6, 2019.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, investigated the case.

United States Attorney David C. Joseph and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany E. Fields are prosecuting the case.