UPDATE: Beef plant scam defendants indicted again

A new 16-count indictment accuses a previously indicted Georgia company and three executives of knowing the Mississippi Beef Plant was doomed to fail and not telling anybody, federal court documents show today.

As in a May indictment, they are accused of submitting fraudulent invoices to recover political contributions to an unnamed and unindicted public official’s re-election campaign. They also are charged with conspiring and executing a scheme to obtain money by submitting invoices for work not performed and by fraudulently overstating and inflating costs associated with the plant’s construction.

The “superceding indictment” dated June 19 but just appearing on a courts data base accuses The Facility Group of Smyrna, Ga., and executives Robert L. Moultrie, Nixon Cawood and Charles Morehead of corruptly making contributions to the reelection campaign of a “public official” to win a state contract on the Yalobusha County processing plant; that part of the accusations is not new.

While no one publicly has identified the official as then-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, contributions by TFG and others match up with Musgrove campaign finance reports from his failed re-election campaign in 2003. Now a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, he maintains he has done nothing wrong.

But what appears to be new are charges that Cawood and The Facility Group learned about March 6, 2003, from one of its design engineers that national beef producers considered the operation a “money pit” and that it might not be economically viable in the long run without enough livestock to support the kill facility for more than about 24 months.

The engineer’s memo speculated the state could face serious problems with its “unsecured loan.”

Cawood and The Facility Group concealed these warnings from the state and Community Bank.

Daily Journal
6/24/8