Little Rock attorney admits to defrauding US farm programs

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Little Rock attorney has pleaded guilty to his role in a conspiracy to defraud two U.S. Department of Agriculture programs of about $11.5 million.

Mike Dugan

Court documents show 75-year-old Everett Martindale pleaded guilty Thursday to acting as attorney for 192 people who filed false claims of discrimination when seeking USDA funds for farming operations. U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ross says the claimants were recruited by sisters Lynda Charles of Hot Springs; Delois Bryant of North Little Rock; Rosie Bryant and Brenda Sherpell of Texas; tax preparer Jerry Green of Texas; and notary public Niki Charles of Sherwood. Martindale is the last of the seven to reach a plea agreement in the case. None has been sentenced.

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