Rome Man Enters Last Minute Plea In Phantom Timber Prosecution

Aaron Wilbert Freeman of Rome, Georgia, pled guilty last week in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to one count of conspiracy and one count of wire fraud after a jury had been selected in his trial, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Northern District of Georgia,  Freeman operated a "scale house" for the Temple-Inland Company where trucks carrying timber were weighed and drivers were issued a "scale ticket" as proof of delivery of the timber. Freeman was alleged to have manipulated the scale house's computer system to note multiple deliveries of timber where in fact there was only a single delivery. Freeman allegedly recruited delivery drivers, co-defendants Kevin Fields, Jason Joseph, Roger Carthern, Andrew Carthern, David Carthern, Robert Frank Ferguson and Bonner Tate to redeem false scale tickets with timber suppliers. The alleged co-conspirators are alleged to have laundered the monies gained through various accounts, and to have split the profits with Freeman. The scheme allegedly netted approximately $4 million. All of the defendants were indicted in November of 2009.

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