Fraud Charges Against Former Celadon Executives Dismissed

Fraud Costs Towards Former Celadon Executives Dismissed

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A fraud prosecution of two former executives of now-defunct Celadon Group Inc. that has lingered within the courts for practically three years has been dismissed on the request of the U.S. authorities amid allegations of inaccurate statements by an FBI agent engaged on the case.

A federal decide authorized the dismissal request in August in a case involving felony costs towards former Celadon President William Meek and former Chief Monetary Officer Bobby Peavler. The 2 have been indicted Dec. 5, 2019, for his or her alleged position in a fancy securities and accounting scheme in 2016 and 2017 that the federal government stated inflated the corporate’s revenue and earnings per share.

The previous executives have been charged with one rely every of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, financial institution fraud and securities fraud; 5 counts of wire fraud; two counts of securities fraud; one rely of conspiracy to make false statements to a public firm’s accountants and to falsify books, information and accounts of a public firm; and one rely of creating false statements to a public firm’s accountants.

Peavler was charged with two further counts of creating false statements to a public firm’s accountants, in response to the indictment.

Celadon closed its doorways shortly after the felony costs have been filed in December 2019.

The dismissal in August with prejudice signifies that authorities prosecutors can not refile the case towards the 2 executives.

Attorneys for each executives stated that regardless of the dismissal, they’d have proved their purchasers have been harmless had the case gone to trial.

On the time of the unique indictment in 2019, the U.S. Securities and Alternate Fee additionally filed a civil grievance towards the 2 executives that was stayed, awaiting decision of the felony court docket case.

At press time, the SEC case remained in place and it was unknown if SEC would proceed to pursue its civil litigation. A federal Justice of the Peace ordered the events to file a joint standing report by Nov. 2, stating particularly how they suggest the civil case ought to proceed, together with imposition of case administration plan deadlines and any settlement.

Questions concerning the authorities’s case towards the executives started after an August 2019, six-hour “proffer” interview amongst Peavler, his attorneys, FBI brokers and U.S. Justice Division prosecutors. The proffer interview was meant to permit Peavler to inform his aspect of the story to prosecutors.

However the authorities’s case started to have issues after a written report from the proffer interview filed by one of many FBI brokers on the case, Particular Agent Victoria Madtson, was shortly considered as suspicious by Peavler and his attorneys.

In testimony and paperwork, Madtson stated that Peavler “affirmed” his guilt in a press release in the course of the interview.

Victoria Madtson


Nonetheless, the interview was not recorded or transcribed, an element that in the end labored towards the agent’s claims after one in all Peavler’s attorneys who took notes on the assembly expressed “deep considerations” that Madtson’s statements weren’t correct. In response to the protection attorneys’ accuracy questions on Madtson, federal Choose Jane Magnus-Stinson, of the U.S. District Courtroom for the Southern District of Indiana, held two evidentiary hearings in February.

“Particular Agent Madtson has undergone important coaching as an FBI agent and is skilled in interviewing witnesses and suspects and making ready [FBI interview] FD-302 studies, particularly in instances involving white collar and monetary crimes,” Magnus-Stinson wrote in a July 27 court docket order. “Regardless of her background and expertise, nevertheless, she proved to be a questionable witness on this case for a number of causes.”


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Madtson didn’t seize the questions that have been requested in the course of the proffer interview, the exact solutions that got or which particular person stated what, the decide wrote.

“Particular Agent Madtson seems to have misattributed statements made by different people to Mr. Peavler,” the decide added.

“The cross-examination of Particular Agent Madtson was devastating,” the decide continued. “On quite a few events — a minimum of 150 by the court docket’s rely — she indicated that she didn’t have any impartial recollection concerning the proffer interview apart from what was recorded in her notes or her FD-302.”

The decide chided the federal government for not selecting to report the interview with Peavler, which brought about the dispute to result in “complicated and protracted pretrial litigation.”

“The court docket might have been spared days of time and work had the proffer interview been recorded,” she wrote.

“The federal government ought to change the best way that it investigates its instances,” stated Michael Kelly, one in all Peavler’s attorneys, and a associate within the Washington, D.C., agency of Akerman LLP. “The Division of Justice ought to report its interviews in each case and never depend on FBI brokers to jot down a abstract of what was stated.

“On this case, an inaccurate abstract led an FBI agent to testify falsely in an evidentiary listening to. These varieties of errors are too harmful and might result in an harmless man being convicted. Taping interviews is one of the simplest ways to observe the information wherever they lead — which needs to be the DOJ’s mission in each case.”

Calls in search of remark from the Indianapolis FBI workplace and U.S. Attorneys Workplace for the Southern District of Indiana weren’t returned at press time.


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