VALDOSTA, Georgia – A southwest Georgia businessman and tractor supply company owner has pleaded guilty to orchestrating a complex fraud involving millions of dollars in loans from multiple creditors.
Rickey Carter, 60, of Nashville, Ga., Pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud on Tuesday, June 8 before U.S. District Judge Hugh Lawson. Carter faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, followed by at least five years of supervised release and a fine of $ 1 million. Sentencing is scheduled for September 15. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Ricky Carter’s decision to concoct various illegal schemes to keep his failing business afloat has hurt small businesses, community banks and defrauded the federal government. Carter’s criminal actions will ultimately land him in federal prison, ”Acting US Attorney Peter D. Leary said. “FBI and FDIC agents were successful in unraveling Carter’s complicated fraud, preventing him from further harming small businesses and bringing him to justice.”
“Carter thought he was smart enough to swindle millions of dollars in these banks, but he wasn’t smart enough to avoid getting caught and punished,” said Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of the FBI Atlanta. “He will be held responsible for the damage he caused, sending a strong message to anyone who considers such fraud to be a serious crime with serious consequences.”
“Ricky Carter’s guilty plea holds him accountable for his actions by fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in loans from these banks,” said Special Agent in Charge Kyle A. Myles of the Office of Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC-OIG). “We remain committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring to justice those who threaten the integrity of the banking system.”
The US Attorney’s Office described the case as follows:
Carter was president and CEO of Nashville Tractor (NTI), a company that sold and leased farm and construction equipment, attachments and parts. In 2016, he secured a US Small Business Administration (SBA) loan from Farmers and Merchants Bank (FMB) for a principal amount of $ 5 million. At the same time, NTI obtains a new line of credit and signs a credit agreement with BKW in the amount of $ 625,000.
In 2010, Carter had an ongoing wholesale and safety finance agreement with CNH Industrial Capital America, LLC (CNH) to fund NTI’s inventory purchases for retail or rental. It also entered into a Retail Finance Agreement (RFA) with CNH under which CNH would purchase NTI’s stake in retail contracts for the purchase of agricultural and construction equipment with retail customers. The deal with CNH was a primary source of agricultural and construction equipment inventory for NTI.
Carter was able to continue NTI’s operations and other loan agreements were made with a number of other banks and funding entities. In each case of a loan with the banks, Carter was required to provide true and complete financial information to the banks and was required to provide ongoing information for line of credit drawdowns. However, in 2015, NTI started having financial and cash flow issues that made it difficult to pay off loans and payroll. During this time, Carter began to sell equipment she held in trust, but without paying cash to CNH and other creditors as required. Carter sold at least 88 pieces of equipment valued at over $ 1.5 million subject to CNH collateral and sold other pieces of equipment securing funding from Kubota Credit Corporation, Ameris Bank, Bank of Alapaha and Diversified Financial Services. As part of the fraud scheme, Carter falsified NTI’s financial records in order to inflate the company’s net worth. As part of the falsification of records, Carter sometimes instructed NTI employees to generate payment checks on accounts payable but not send the checks, thereby reducing accounts payable but not deducting checks from NTI accounts. In 2016, Carter falsified documents provided to FMB to secure the SBA loan and line of credit.
Carter also created fraudulent retail installment contracts for the sale or lease of extensive equipment with CNH using the names of real people whose information was available to Carter. These fraudulent contracts generated more than $ 1.2 million in payments to NTI.
Carter continued throughout the SBA loan period to provide false and fraudulent information. In total, Carter admitted to being responsible for an expected fraud loss totaling more than $ 3.5 million but not more than $ 9.5 million. Carter is responsible for restoring actual monetary losses caused by the fraud to FMB ($ 1,227,319.66), SBA ($ 1,500,000), Ameris Bank ($ 321,934.50), Bank of Alapaha ($ 150,000 ), CNH ($ 2,782,959.99), KCC ($ 185,993.32) and Diversified Financial Services ($ 228,399.92).