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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas attorney has pleaded guilty to his role in a conspiracy to defraud two U.S. Department of Agriculture programs of about $11.5 million, according to court documents.

Everett Martindale, 75, of Little Rock, pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit fraud by acting as attorney for 192 people who filed false claims of discrimination when seeking USDA funds for farming operations, said U.

S. Attorney Jonathan Ross.

He faces up to five years in prison, but prosecutors will recommend a two year sentence and dismiss two similar counts as part of a plea agreement.

The claims were filed by people recruited by sisters Lynda Charles of Hot Springs; Delois Bryant of North Little Rock; Rosie Bryant of Colleyville, Texas; Brenda Sherpell of Gainesville, Texas; tax preparer Jerry Green of Grand Prairie, Texas; and notary public Niki Charles, Lynda Charles’ daughter, of Sherwood.

Martindale is the last of the seven to reach a plea agreement in the case. None has been sentenced.

None of the claimants was discriminated against when they sought funds from the Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation settlement and the Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers claim program, according to Ross.

Martindale failed to investigate the claims, despite signing certifications that he had done so, Ross said.

None of the claimants has been named in the indictment and a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Little Rock did not immediately return phone calls Friday for additional comment.

The two programs were created as the results of settlements of a lawsuit by Black farmers and a separate lawsuit by Hispanic and women farmers in which both groups said they were discriminated against when applying for farm credit from the USDA.

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Tags: discriminated against a plea agreement pleaded guilty black farmers conspiracy black farmers hispanic according farmers as attorney farmers little rock

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DUMPED IN THE WOODS: Sick Pitbull Puppies Found Shivering In NJ

Shivering. Defenseless. Alone.

This was how three pitbull puppies were found last week in a wooded area of New Jersey.

A keen-eyed driver going past the Wildlife Management Area in Millville spotted one puppy sitting on the side of the road, as if waiting for someone, on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

When animal control officers arrived, they were surprised to find two other puppies 50 feet further into the woods. All three puppies were crouching down and shivering. 

Upon evaluation, it was discovered the two males and female were also suffering from the potentially-deadly parvo virus, Jersey Pits said.

The future was uncertain for the pups for several days, but eventually, Finch, Fox and Falcon turned a corner.

The pups are being cared for by Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge and Jersey Pits, with help from Oradell Animal Hospital/

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