Rome Georgia paper mill investigation leads to federal criminal charges

On Monday, nine men were arraigned in a Rome, Georgia federal court for allegedly scamming a paper mill out of $4.8 million dollars. Federal authorities say the mill paid for timber that was never delivered.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has the story.

The mill, Temple-Inland paper mill, was allegedly conned out of the millions of dollars from 2004 to 2006. Prosecutors believe that Aaron Freeman, who worked as a scale house operator at the mill, used the mill’s computers to create two weight readings when a truck went though the mill’s scale. One reading would be for timber that was actually delivered while the other would be for a phony shipment. Freeman would then allegedly recruit truck drivers to help in the scheme by claiming credit for the phony shipments.

The nine men were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud which carries a sentence of up to 20 years and a $250,000 fine per offense. The names charged in the indictment include Aaron Freeman, Kevin Fields, Curtis Hart, Jason Joseph, Roger Carthern, Andrew Carthern, David Carthern, Robert Frank Ferguson and George Tate. Freeman, Fields and Joseph were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering which carries a possible sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Our criminal defense attorneys have successfully defended numerous clients charged with wire fraud and money laundering. While there are many ways to defend against wire fraud allegations, one of the most powerful defenses is good faith. It is important to remember that the government carries the burden of showing that the defendant knowingly participated in the fraud. If a defendant can show that he believed his actions were made in good faith, and that there was no intent to commit any fraud or other unlawful acts, there can generally be no conviction. Good faith can be shown through industry standards, cooperating with law enforcement, promptly acting to fix complaints and consulting with an attorney.

Pate & Brody is an accomplished Georgia law firm with offices in Atlanta, Macon and Madison. Our lawyers are dedicated to pursuing justice for people charged with serious crimes. We have successfully represented clients facing serious federal criminal charges and state criminal charges in courts across Georgia. Our lawyers have been recognized on the list of Georgia’s “Super Lawyers”, and included among Georgia’s “Legal Elite” by Georgia Trend Magazine. Page Pate was recently the Chairman of the Criminal Law Section of the Atlanta Bar Association.


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