SHREVEPORT, LA. – The US Attorney's Office from the Western District of Louisiana announced on March 9 that two Louisiana men pled guilty to defrauding more than $2.1 million from poultry producer Raeford Farms of Louisiana LLC.
The company employed William Ross Hickman and Brian K. Whiteman as sales manager and assistant sales manager.
The evidence from the government showed that the fraud scheme began before 2018.
While working at Raeford Farms, Hickman developed a scheme to fraudulently divert business from Raeford Farms by using Group 7792 as an intermediary to purchase chicken frames from Raeford.
Hickman then used his position as sales manager to provide favorable sales terms to other entities, including Heritage Food sales, another company Hickman controlled.
The US Attorney stated that Heritage paid Group 7792 a guaranteed return for each transaction but never took possession of the chicken frames or added anything of value to the transaction.
Hickman would then sell the same chicken frames to a poultry wholesaler in Chattanooga, Tenn., for a profit.
Whiteman was responsible for tracking inventory and details regarding the shipments.
“Whiteman provided this type of information to Hickman to further the conspiracy to defraud in order to get a higher price for chicken frame loads sold by Heritage,” the US Attorney said. “In exchange for his participation in the conspiracy to defraud, Whiteman understood and agreed with Hickman that Heritage would pay him through his own business entity, All Trade Enterprise LLC (All Trade).”
Hickman would then pay Whiteman a monthly commission through All Trade and occasionally to him personally.
With sentencing scheduled for July 12, Hickman and Whiteman could each face up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.