'Tough Luck' Farmer Pleads Guilty to Stealing $17M


'Tough Luck' Farmer Pleads Guilty to Stealing $17M

A Louisiana farmer pleaded guilty last month to stealing nearly $17 million by making a series of fraudulent loans and advances from a list of victims.

Thomas Dickerson, 45, of Delhi, used his ownership in at least 13 farming entities to further his scheme, according to U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph of the Western District of Louisiana, and some of the farming operations were in Arkansas. Specifically, he used the names Joseph C. Lively and Tough Luck Farms Inc. in Drew County and Tibb Co. Farms LLC in Ashley and Chicot counties.

His plea agreement describes a blizzard of fraudulent loan and credit applications, all during the 2015 crop year. Dickerson’s victims were seven lenders — none of them in Arkansas — who lost between $172,000 (Kennedy Rice Dryers of Mer Rouge, Louisiana) and $4.75 million (the federal government’s Commodity Credit Corp.). Franklin State Bank of Winnsboro, Louisiana, with $168 million in assets, was stung for $2.73 million.

Dickerson is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 6.