UPDATE: Aberdeen biodiesel plant doing business with indicted Tacker

ABERDEEN — A biodeisel refinery company with plans to locate in Aberdeen is doing business with a man indicted March 26 on federal fraud charges related to his own defunct biodiesel company in Nettleton.

William “Tommy” Tacker II, 56, pleaded not guilty last week to accusations he and H. Max Speight of Martin, Tenn., defrauded the government of nearly $3 million through Nettleton-based Biodiesel of Mississippi Inc.

Tacker is free on $5,000 bond. He pleaded not guilty through his lawyer in Aberdeen.

Late last week, Mississippi Investment Petroleum Co. of Aberdeen said the first reactor for its biofuel plant was sent to a William Tacker for refurbishing in Okolona. Which Tacker was not explained in the news release.

Monday, Aberdeen Mayor Jim Ballard confirmed this William Tacker is the same as the indicted man.

Speight, a 65-year-old disbarred attorney, is serving a prison term in Tennessee after pleading guilty in 2008 to stealing money from clients. News reports said the stolen money went to the Nettleton biodiesel project.

He is expected to be arraigned in Oxford U.S. District Court on Wednesday.

The 10-count indictment accuses the men, from July 2003 through January 2006, of making false statements and overvaluing securities connected with their participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Bioenergy Program, which paid commercial bioenergy producers to increase production from one fiscal year to the next.

The program also paid producers for production that was not an increase from the previous fiscal year.

According to the MIPCO news release, their biodiesel reactor was sent to Tacker “who has extensive experience with the construction and operation of Biodiesel facilities.”

Mayor Ballard said he had recently met with MIPCO’s board and believes the Aberdeen project was expected to be completed soon.

Jeff Clark & Patsy R. Brumfield