March 7, 2014
By Bob Coleman
Editor, Coleman Report
The guilty pleas are the latest in the Southwest Georgia Farm Credit scandal which ensnared many local businessmen, and a prominent reverend.
Former chief lender Larry Malone pled guilty back in 2011 to his crimes and has yet to be sentenced.
Brad senior acted as a straw buyer for Brad junior who had reached the $6 million cap imposed on farm credit loans. Senior took the money to buy real estate in Southwest Georgian and North fFlorida.
Says the FBI, “Mr. Heard, Sr. and Mr. Heard, Jr. entered guilty pleas to the charges on September 26, 2013. As part of their plea agreements, Mr. Heard, Sr. and Mr. Heard, Jr. admitted that they paid bribes and kickbacks to a banker and his wife, located in Bainbridge, Georgia, to influence and reward the banker for making loans to them. The total amount of loans made by the banker to them was $13,000,000.
“The defendants in this case used kickbacks and bribes from loan proceeds from a bank, whose primary purpose is to help farmers, to induce the lending officer to make improper loans. They tried to game the system and will now find themselves in federal prison for their crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Moore.