Frederick T. Brink, Special Agent in Charge, Jackson Division Federal Bureau of Investigation, Stacey Pickering, Mississippi State Auditor, and Jim M. Greenlee, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, announce today that the federal grand jury has returned a sixteen count indictment alleging a conspiracy to corruptly influence and reward a public official and a scheme to defraud numerous individuals, entities and the State of Mississippi in connection with the economic development project known as Mississippi Beef Processors. Charged in the indictment are Robert L. Moultrie, age 67 from Smyrna, Georgia; Nixon E. Cawood, age 58 from Woodstock, Georgia; Charles K. Morehead, age 57 from Lilburn, Georgia; Facility Holdings Corporation d/b/a The Facility Group, Facility Management Group, Inc., Facility Construction Management, Inc. and Facility Design Group, Inc.
On March 25, 2008, the above individuals and entities appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander in Oxford, Mississippi, for their initial appearances and arraignments. The defendants were released on bond. Trial of the matter was set for May 19, 2008, before Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills in Oxford, Mississippi.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Frederick T. Brink stated, “While some criminal investigations move at a very fast pace, others are much slower to develop and require, above all, patience. This investigation by the FBI and the State Auditor’s Office, with the full support of the United States Attorney’s Office, into the failure of the Mississippi Beef Processors is one of the latter. When this investigation first began with the formation of the Mississippi Beef Processors Joint Investigative Task Force in January 2005, all of us knew we were embarking upon a lengthy investigation. Today, another indictment has been unsealed. However, this investigation is not closed, nor will it be, until every individual criminally responsible for this massive financial loss to the citizens of Mississippi, and to many innocent contractors and subcontractors, has been identified and prosecuted. We encourage anyone with any knowledge of wrongdoing in connection with the Mississippi Beef Processors plant to come forward.”
“The State Auditor’s role in any investigation is to determine if the taxpayer dollars have been spent improperly,” said Stacey Pickering, State Auditor. “We have been diligently working on the Mississippi Beef Processors Plant case, and I applaud the cooperative effort on behalf of our office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office in bringing this indictment today. We will continue to work hard to ensure that justice is served and that any money owed to the state of Mississippi and its vendors is returned.”
United States Attorney Jim Greenlee stated, “The Indictment is the result of a committed and in-depth investigation by agents of the FBI and the State Auditor’s Office. These investigators’ hard work and attentiveness have been superb. It demonstrates their dedication to the citizens of the State of Mississippi. I am appreciative of them and the hard and extensive work done by the prosecution team from my office.”
Greenlee cautioned an indictment is a charge of alleged criminal conduct. Under our Constitution, a defendant is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
A copy of the Indictment may be found, via Pacer, from the website of the United States District Court, Northern District of Mississippi.