Jim M. Greenlee, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, Frederick T. Brink, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jackson Division and Stacy Pickering, Mississippi State Auditor announce today that Robert L. Moultrie, age 67, from Smyrna, Georgia; Nixon E. Cawood, age 58 of Woodstock, Georgia and Charles K. Morehead,
age 57, of Lilburn, Georgia, have waived indictment and entered pleas of guilty to felonies in federal court. Moultrie and Cawood each pled guilty to paying a gratuity to influence and reward a public official in connection with the work of The Facility Group on the Mississippi Beef Processors project, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 666(a)(2). Morehead pled guilty to concealing material facts in a matter within the jurisdiction of a federal government agency, that is the investigation of the Mississippi Beef Processors project, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001(a).
The maximum penalty for Moultrie and Cawood is ten years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, supervised release of three years and a special assessment of $100. The maximum penalty for Morehead is five years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, supervised release of three years and a $100 special assessment. The pleas were entered before Chief U. S. District Judge Michael P. Mills in Oxford, Mississippi. Moultrie pled guilty on Monday, August 11, 2008, Cawood on Wednesday, August 13, 2008, and Morehead on Thursday, August 14, 2008.
Moultrie’s plea agreement calls for a sentence not to exceed 34 months and a fine of $3,000 to $30,000. Cawood’s plea agreement calls for a sentence not to exceed 30 months imprisonment and a five thousand dollar fine. Morehead’s plea agreement calls for a sentencing guideline range of 10 – 16 months and a $5,000 fine. All of the defendants remain on bond pending the completion of a pre-sentence report and sentencing which is expected in 6 to 8 weeks.
Facility Holding Corp, d/b/a The Facility Group, Facility Management Group, Inc., Facility Construction Management Inc., and Facility Design Group Inc. of Smyrna, Georgia, remain scheduled for trial on August 25th. However, a resolution of the charges against them is proceeding.
Frederick T. Brink, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jackson Division, stated:
“The investigation into the creation and ultimate failure of the Mississippi Beef Processors began with the formation of the Mississippi Beef Processors Joint Investigative Task Force in January of 2005. The agents of the FBI and the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office who comprise this Task Force, with the full support of United States Attorney Jim Greenlee, have been tenacious in their efforts to identify and prosecute those individuals whose acts contributed to the enormous financial losses suffered by the citizens of the State of Mississippi. We continue to encourage anyone with information concerning wrongdoing in connection with the Mississippi Beef Processors plant to come forward.”
Mississippi State Auditor Stacy Pickering stated:
“These three pleas and the three previous convictions are certainly positive steps for the citizens of Mississippi as we continue working to bring the Beef Processors case to a close. Our investigators worked very well with the FBI and The United States Attorney’s Office to reach this point, and as your State Auditor, I remain committed to protecting the reputation and integrity of the taxpayers of Mississippi.”
U. S. Attorney Jim M. Greenlee stated:
“The guilty pleas of Robert Moultrie, Nixon Cawood and Charles Morehead are the result of a lengthy and thorough investigation conducted jointly by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Office of State Auditor. Our citizens should commend these agents for their excellent work and perseverance. Moultrie, Cawood and Morehead have agreed to cooperate with the United States Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice. Therefore, commenting further on the investigation would be premature.
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Office of The Mississippi State Auditor. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys W. Chadwick Lamar and James D. Maxwell II.
US DOJ/MS Auditor Stacey Pickering Press Release