Gary Southern Charged Fraud: Freedom Industries President Gary Southern Released On Bond

December 10, 2014 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Gary Southern charged with fraud, bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, and lying under oath in hearings following the January chemical spill that contaminated West Virginia’s water supply. According to the FBI, Southern, who is the former president of Freedom Industries, lied and came up with an elaborate scheme after the spill to protect his fortune.

Gary Southern

Gary Southern charged by the FBI on bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, and giving false information while under oath. According to documents, obtained from the U.S. District Court in Charleston, West Virginia, Southern, who is the former president of Freedom Industries, cooked up an elaborate scheme to protect his $8 Million fortune after a massive chemical spill.

In January, a storage tank from Freedom Industries, which was rigged with holes and contained 10,000 gallons of a chemical called 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM), leaked into the Elk River.

4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol is coal-cleaning chemical that can cause “severe burning in the throat, vomiting and skin blistering.” The spill left over 300,000 people without tap water.

FBI Special Agent, James F. Lafferty, claimed that soon after the disaster, Southern lied and blamed others in order to protect his wealth. Lafferty stated:

“Shortly after the leak and discharge of MCHM into the Elk River was discovered on January 9, 2014.Southern engaged in a pattern of deceitful behavior, which included numerous false and/or fraudulent statements about his role at Freedom, his role in the sale of Freedom to Chemstream, and his knowledge about conditions at the Etowah Facility.”

On Tuesday, Southern was arrested in Florida and charged with one count each of bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, and giving false oath in Freedom’s bankruptcy case.

Magistrate Judge Carol Mirando of the U.S. District Court in Fort Myers, released Southern on a $100,000 unsecured bond with travel restrictions. Southern is facing up to 25 years behind bars.

An attorney for Southern stated that his client “is certainly innocent of those charges.” Southern will appear before the West Virginia district court on December 18.

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