Georgia Tractor Dealer Pleads Guilty To $6.4M Bank Fraud

MACON, Ga. (AP) — The owner of a south Georgia tractor company has pleaded guilty to lying about his debts, assets and income to obtain loans from banks and financial institutions.

Nashville Tractor owner Rickey Carter, 60, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Macon to one count of bank fraud.

Carter agreed to plead guilty to a criminal charge without being indicted. The charge says Carter took out a $5 million loan from Farmers and Merchants Bank in Lakeland in 2016 that was backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. He also agreed to a $625,000 line of credit. Carter admitted he falsified financial statements in order to obtain the loan for his financially troubled tractor dealership,

He also admitted to selling 88 pieces of equipment worth more than $1.5 million that Nashville Tractor held in trust for CNH Industrial, the manufacturer of New Holland tractors; and other equipment that he held in trust for Kubota, without notifying the manufacturers. Carter then used the cash to pay Nashville Tractor’s debts. Carter also forged sale and lease contracts for 33 pieces of New Holland equipment, improperly receiving $1.25 million and then improperly selling the equipment to others without telling CNH.

In total, three banks, the SBA and manufacturer financing divisions lost $6.4 million to Carter because of the fraud. Carter is supposed to repay that amount in restitution.

U.S. District Judge Hugh Lawson set sentencing for Sept. 15. The crime carries a maximum of 30 years in prison, but Carter is likely to be sentenced to far less under federal sentencing guidelines. He could also face up to a $1 million fine and up to five years of supervised release.