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Former investors sue over fraudulent biodiesel company

PONTOTOC — Two former investors in a biodiesel operation in north Mississippi have sued a Tennessee partner alleging they were duped into getting involved in a scam that defrauded a federal subsidy program.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports W. Tommy Tacker II and Janey Tyner, both of Martin, Tenn., are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. The lawsuit was filed this past week in Pontotoc County against H. Max Speight of Martin, Tenn.

Tacker founded Biodiesel of Miss. Inc. with then-Tennessee lawyer H. Max Speight and Janey Tyner. Records show he held 52 percent, with Speight and Tyner with 24 percent each. The company built a soybean biodiesel refinery in the Nettleton area but went bankrupt in 2006.

Tacker and Speight were indicted in 2009 on federal charges of conspiracy and fraud totaling some $2.89 million in biodiesel subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Tyner was not indicted.

Speight ultimately pleaded guilty to using more than $1 million in clients’ money to fund the Biodiesel operation. He was disbarred and sentenced to prison for 26 months. He testified against Tacker.

A jury convicted Tacker in 2010 on 10 counts that he conspired and defrauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture out of $2.8 million in a biofuels subsidy program. He was sentenced to five years.

In the lawsuit was filed in Pontotoc County because, it states, Tacker lived there and suffered harm from Speight there.

The lawsuit alleges, claims Speight intentionally defrauded Tacker and Tyner, whom it claims were “ignorant” of Speight’s lies and misrepresentations.

 

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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