A co-owner of a family-owned farming business based in Perkinston faces criminal charges over crops of soybeans he planted in Pearl River County.
Arizona Parden, 23, had mortgaged a crop to the Farm Service Agency and told the FSA the crops were in storage when he had already sold them, a federal indictment says. He allegedly converted money from the sale to his own use.
Parden pleaded not guilty on a two-count indictment Monday in U.S. District Court.
The indictment, filed Oct. 18, charges him with intent to defraud farm credit agents on mortgaged or pledged property and making false statements to the FSA. The Farm Service Agency, which helps provide loans to farmers and ranchers, operates under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
One charge alleges Parden removed mortgaged soybeans from storage in 2012 between Nov. 16 and Nov. 26 and sold them.
The other charge alleges he made false statements about the crops to the FSA on Dec. 17, 2012.
Parden is set for trial on a court calendar that starts Dec. 4.
He is free on an unsecured $25,000 bond. One condition of his release forbids Parden from talking to his father about the criminal case and says he is to limit their conversations to work matters, a court document shows.
The criminal charges appear to be part of a federal investigation made public after an indictment in December 2015.
Parden’s father, Harvey “Dale” Parden, was accused of threatening a USDA agent with a 4-foot-long metal pipe at the Parden Farms headquarters on Paramount Road in Perkinston in June 2015. The agent had gone to the farm to confront Arizona Parden about a $32,000 loan he reportedly had converted to his own use. The loan was to help him plant and harvest soybean and peanut crops.
A civil complaint alleged Arizona Parden had agreed to repay his farm loan after he sold his crops, but had not repaid the loan two years later.
The charge against his father was dismissed. The civil complaint against Arizona Parden was dropped after a judge ruled he had “substantially complied” with his obligations.