In an unusual court case Monday, a Sumter man pleaded guilty in federal court to fraudulently disposing of chicken parts.
Dwayne Budden owned The Budden Company, which was hired by the GoldKist chicken processing plant in Sumter to remove its waste from the facility, including chicken organs and other by-products. The agreement required Budden to dispose of the waste at the Lee County Landfill.
However, federal prosecutors say Budden instead brought the waste to his family’s property in the small town of Pinewood and buried it there without a permit.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Budden then submitted forged landfill documents to GoldKist so he could be reimbursed. Authorities say this continued for five years, during which time GoldKist was bought by Pilgrim’s Pride. Budden was paid approximately $2.4 million by the two companies.
Budden admitted to mail fraud charges in a Columbia courtroom Monday. The maximum penalty he can receive is a $250,000 fine and 20 years in prison. He will be sentenced in March.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control investigated the case. U.S. District Judge Cameron Currie accepted the plea.