FBI Files Charges Against Freedom Industries Fraudster


It’s been a long time coming, but charges have finally been filed against the former president of Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the chemical spill in West Virginia that left hundreds of thousands of people without water for an extended period of time.

via ThinkProgress

Former Freedom Industries president Gary Southern was charged with bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, and lying under oath during the company’s bankruptcy proceedings following the massive spill — a 10,000 gallon dump of a coal-cleaning chemical called crude MCHM into the Elk River. FBI Special Agent James F. Lafferty said in a sworn affidavit that Southern, in an attempt to protect his personal fortune of nearly $8 million and shield himself from lawsuits, developed a scheme to distance himself from the company and “deflect blame” to other parties.

As it turns out, the series of contradictory statements made by Southern immediately following the spill and the job titles he did or did not hold, depending on which day you asked him, were actually part of a pattern of illegal activity.

It’s amusing that his efforts to shield his wealth from lawsuits stemming from the chemical spill that terrified an entire region may be what ultimately eliminates his wealth.

School children were prohibited from using water fountains for weeks following the spill and, on more than one occasion, school staff were sickened by the chemical. Meanwhile, Gary Southern’s primary concern was his money.