Friday, September 20, 2013

GUILTY: Fraziers fold.

Collection of all posts on the Frazier case

The Frazier scandal moved closer to a conclusion this week as C.E., Jr., Austin, and Claiborne Frazier pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in federal court Monday.* U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett ordered the trio to return to court on January 9, 2014 at 2:00 PM for sentencing. The Fraziers remain free on bond. Austin and C.E. face up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000 while Claiborne faces up to thirty years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

A federal grand jury indicted Claiborne Frazier, Austin Frazier, and C.E. Frazier, Jr. on December 12, 2012 for mail fraud and money laundering. The grand jury also indicted Spencer Copeland for money laundering. C.E. Frazier, Jr. is the father of Austin and Claiborne. Mr. Copeland is the step-brother of Austin and Claiborne. However, prosecutors withdrew the indictments  and instead filed a new bill of information for each Frazier defendant. Austin and C.E. submitted change of plea notices on September 5 but notice of Clairborne's guilty plea did not occur until it was announced in the courtroom Monday. The proceedings were sparsely attended as the audience consisted of defendants and their attorneys. Post containing indictment

Austin and C.E. pleaded guilty to one count of "conspiracy to commit  bank fraud, mail fraud and/or wire fraud in violation" of 18 U.S.C. 371. The crime carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, $250,000 fine, and supervised release of not more than three years. Claiborne pleaded guilty to one count of "conspiracy to commit bank, mail and/or wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1349." The charge carries a maximum sentence of thirty years in prison, $250,000 fine, and supervised release for a term of five years.

Prosecutor Carla Clark said C.E. operated Frazier Construction as President. Clairborne was the Vice-President and Austin served as Secretary and Treasurer. Ms. Clark said the Fraziers repeatedly used fraudulent means to divert construction loans to fund their personal lifestyle and other construction projects. She said they defrauded Bancorp South, Merchants & Farmers Bank, and Travelers Insurance for millions of dollars through Frazier Construction and other LLC's.

Ms. Clark stated the fraud began 2001 as the Fraziers misled investors about the Van Buren condominium project in Oxford, Ms. They established the Van Buren Construction company to borrow $5.4 million from Bancorp South. Bancorp South issued the construction loan in 2001. Claiborne sold eight condos at discounted prices in cash transactions. He diverted the funds for other uses instead of using them to pay off the loan as required by the terms of his note. The average sales price was approximately $250,000. Prominent Jacksonians such as Shane Langston and John Albritton purchased these condos but found out to their misfortune the bank never released the liens on their condos.   However, the Fraziers told the bank in 2003 and 2005 the condos had not sold. The fraud began with Van Buren but unfortunately did not end in Oxford.

The Fraziers then used another LLC, Olde Colony, to construct another project in Ridgeland.  Olde Colony obtained a $2.8 million loan from Merchants & Farmers Bank in 2004.  Frazier Construction operated as the general contractor on the project. The company needed a permit issued by the city of Ridgeland to obtain "draws" from the bank on the loan. Ms. Clark said the defendants forged an architect's signature and submitted the forgery to Ridgeland and the bank in order to obtain the draws. The forgery was later discovered and the state suspended construction license for Frazier Construction. Once again, the Fraziers "diverted" the loan proceeds for their own personal use and benefit (Translation: They partied on it.).

The Fraziers then continued along their fraudulent ways up in Itta Bena on a project at Mississippi Valley State University. They applied to Travelers Insurance for a $12.6 million surety bond.  The Fraziers lied to Travelers about the true financial condition of the company and later informed Travelers they did not have the money to finish the project.  Thus Travelers proceeded to continue supporting the project under the terms of the insurance policy.  However, the Fraziers conjured up new methods to divert money to themselves despite the restrictions placed on their pay by the insurance company. First they paid themselves high salaries. Travelers ordered them to stop doing so. No problem.  C.E. and Austin falsified more financial documents and submitted them to Travelers. Travelers wired $1.1 million to Frazier Construction in 2008. Austin submitted phony invoices and subcontractor checks to Travelers. The defendants would then either convert the checks or issue stop-payment orders so they could keep the funds for themselves. However, several subcontractors filed liens against the project. The Fraziers closed Frazier Construction in 2008.

Both Austin and C.E. replied "yes sir" and "guilty" when Judge Starrett asked them if they pleaded guilty to the charges. Judge Starrett then informed the defendants "you have now been convicted of a felony". The two defendants left the courtroom after their proceedings concluded. Judge Starrett then called Claiborne Frazier and his attorney to the podium as he proceeded to accept Claiborne's guilty plea. Unfortunately for Claiborne, he forgot to say "sir" when replying to the judge (as in "yes sir") and earned an admonishment about showing respect to the court from Judge Starrett. Claiborne answered "yes sir" when the judge asked if he was guilty of the the conspiracy charge. Judge Starrett allowed him to remain free on bond until January 9, 2014.

While Spencer Copeland escaped charges of fraud, the grand jury indicted him for money-laundering. His trial is scheduled to start on October 7. The grand jury alleged Spencer, Austin, and C.E. Frazier deposited checks payable to Frazier Construction into Spencer's bank account at Regions and M&F so as "to conceal from Travelers the nature, the location, the source, the ownership, and the control of these funds and thereafter divert these funds fro the co-conspirator's own use and benefit.

The indictment then alleges "It was part of the conspiracy that the co-conspirators would cause funds derived from Frazier Construction assets to be withdrawn in the form of official checks from the M&F bank account xxxxx in the name of Spencer Copeland and from the Trustmark National Bank account xxxx in the name of Spencer Copeland and therafter provided to an unindicted co-conspirator for use in the purchase of a storage unit business located in the state for Georgia for the benefit of defendant A. Frazier.

*Attorneys: Merrida Coxwell (Spencer Copeland), John Collette (Austin Frazier), Drew Martin (Claiborne Frazier), Omodare B. Jupiter (C.E. Frazier, Jr.)

FBI press release

Kingfish note: It will be interesting to see what sentence Ms. Clark will agree to on January 9. She went rather easy on Vann Leonard as she agreed to a three year sentence for him when he pleaded guilty to embezzling over $300,000 from a client.


Anonymous said...

These scumbags will serve their time then be RIGHT back at their old habits of stealing from folks. You can book it.

exjxnres said...

@ 11:33, you may be right, but I would venture to say that they will not be able to do that in the Jackson area. They, and their evil ways, are too well known here. They very well might in another area, and probably will.

Anonymous said...

What a conclusion (almost).

Imagine admitting in open court to being a felon....that's for life. Hell of a legacy, huh?

Of course, to felons (like the Fraziers), shame doesn't really enter the equation. will they hunt now that they can't possess firearms?

Also, as I read the plea, the fine is the $250k or TWICE the amount of the fraud, whichever is larger. Ooof.

Anonymous said...

I have to say: I am absolutely amazed that so many dopes (male and female) have been willing to hand over money to these guys for all these years.

After this, if that continues to happen, human beings are just that much dumber than I already thought they were (which is saying a lot). A fool and his money are soon parted. . .

There are many, many fundamental (and obvious) lessons illustrated here. With all of the years of their flashy displays of wealth, it's now confirmed that it was all either stolen money or debt that will remain forever unpaid.

Lesson 1) You never know who's naked until the tide goes out (if the Fraziers are reading this, that means that "just because someone drives a nice car and appears to have a high-roller lifestyle does not mean that person is really wealthy").

Lesson 2) Wealth is what you accumulate, not what you spend.

Lesson 3) Some women (like the various wives/girlfriends of this crew) are spectacularly bad judges of character in choosing mates (and/or are just flat-out stupid). To be fair, so are the men that gave them money.

Lesson 3) If you want to design and execute a lucrative and successful money laundering scheme, you'll want to obtain partners that are a lot smarter than these clowns.

Anonymous said...

11:22 Well said above .... I'm one of the stupid women that fell for it... And I agree with all u said!!

I wonder how and why all the time! ALL the time

Terrible lesson that I learned

Anonymous said...

Hope all pasports have been turned in so no one can leave the country before the January sentencing. Would not put it past this group to leave the country especially if looking at 30 years.

Anonymous said...

Don't beat yourself up too much 1:36 pm.
I watched these boys grow up and they were handsome and charming and Claiborne was certainly bright and Austin wasn't lacking in " smarts".They were clearly popular with their peers. They had every opportunity to have a wonderful future. Drugs certainly played a role in what happened to them. And, those around them didn't hold them accountable early on when things began to go badly.
You , no doubt, saw all the redeeming qualities and that just means you are a good person and hoped to bring out the best. I'm so sorry that it was beyond repair when you came along.
And, even after things were bad, there were people who tried to help CE start over as they saw the good in him and thought him a foolish man who tried to give his family everything at the expense of his business relationships. They hoped he'd learned his lesson on that.
That said, the they deserve the consequences for the harm they've done others but I can't help but think "what a waste of God's gifts to all of them".

Anonymous said...

What a shame what they have done with the Frazier name. CE's father.. Claiborne and Austin's grandfather was a wonderful hardworking man. The whole family stole from one another. CE AND HIS SONS swindled money from there handicap sister Linda and the other sister Margaret who has been her caregiver. I feel sorry for the family that still has to bear the Frazier name.

I knew them from birth and just like many others born with the sense of entitlement and being bailed out by their family (Doug Hindman) their whole life. It finally caught up with them. I blame the parents who never held them accountable and allowed all the crap they did to go on.

Anonymous said...

1:29. Please don't make statements about what CE Jr. is not doing for his sister Linda, without knowing what he has done, and Is still doing. Why didn't you mention his brother Charles? What do you know about that situation? Without knowing all of the facts, please refrain from making derogatory comments about half of the story.

Anonymous said...

1:29. Please don't make statements about what CE Jr. is not doing for his sister Linda, without knowing what he has done, and Is still doing. Why didn't you mention his brother Charles? What do you know about that situation? Without knowing all of the facts, please refrain from making derogatory comments about half of the story.

Anonymous said...

Somehow, despite living in the area for decades, I've never heard of these people. I guess they just had too much competition. There are so many schemers and con artists and Redneck-'Socialites'-Gone-Wild in the Jackson area, It's hard to keep track...

So, could somebody provide a who's-who rundown, along with what they did?

And please be descriptive! When they weren't swinging, did they get up in your face, acting 'Christian' (usually part of a con, around Jacktown). Were the boys football heroes? At what schools?

Where did they work out? Physical descriptions?

And were they members of the fabled "Elite Reservoir Swing Group"? (supposedly, you had to be extra-hot, and the guys had to be know...).

There was a spectacular gal (if you like the pornstar look) at our gym, married to a big, wealthy bodybuilder. He used her as bait for swinging, I hear. Considering her outspoken hatred for the Gays at our gym, following the divorce, I'm guessing hubby used her to lure MEN. Is this what Claiborne was doing?

Inquiring minds are dying to know...

Anonymous said...

5:35 pm these folks weren't in the "redneck socialite group" but were in the "old money" socialite group and therefore were better hidden from view.
Yes the boys were good athletes at a private school and we do love our athletes.
And, yes, if one goes to church immediately after scandalous behavior and claims they have repented, there is immediate forgiveness IF they are either beautiful and charismatic enough or have enough money to donate and entertain or an important enough family. No one waits to see if the behavior gives truth to the words.
You don't usually hear of these scandals unless a court gets involved or somebody dies.
You did see The Help didn't you? It seems everyone was so focused on the racial strife in the tale that they missed who won the social battle in the white community. Stokett left town,the pretty redneck wife either polished up or stayed isolated and the parties continued.

Anonymous said...

5:31 Charles isn't going to prison.

Anonymous said...

9:37 Thanks for the update, your honor.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, 9:22!!! So, if they moved within the 'Old Money' crowd, does that mean their 'prominence' goes back farther than the Grandfather who made the money? (Old Money predates the Civil War) Or, did they just use their hot bodies and money to sneak into circles where they did not really belong? (Like a certain baton twirler, who snuck into Chi O', by pledging at a small school, & then transferring to Ole Miss. Then she caught a rich man and moved up to the top rung on the Religion Ladder, then bought a big, giant mansion at a deep discount, & almost snuck her progeny in among the 'Real People', before the money ran out and it was all OVER).

Remember, I've never heard of these people. Which private school? Which churches? And when the boys were athletes reeking of entitlement, were they the type to get girls drunk enough to 'pull train'(really, the girl is just a prop, in those situations, so the guys can get turned-on by watching each other)???

I try not to give money to those producing movies which fecalize Mississippi and demonize Whites. So, I'm waiting to pick up a second-hand copy of The Help (or for someone to post it, ad-free, on YouTube.) However, knowing who was in 'The League' in Jacktown, back then (a bunch of nouveau riche ersatz WASPs, descended from Carpetbaggers, trying to pass themselves off as Southern Belles), the previews show a gross distortion of who was 'prominent' in Jackson, back then.

Anonymous said...

The 3 Fraziers in question went to JA and were not good athletes. Or athletes at all.

Anonymous said...

oh you never heard Claiborne say "I was the quarterback when I was a junior at JA" like " I mean I was a big deal"

He said it as a joke but I think he felt it held weight as him being an "athlete"

man these fellows are being raked over the coals....and deserving of it all

Anonymous said...

Who is 9:58 referring to I'm curious?

Anonymous said...

9:58 am You are hysterically funny!

Indeed some of what passes for " old money" in MS are descendants of carpetbaggers.

You clearly are well informed about those you " don't know".

There used to be more than a few who joined ChiO somewhere else and transferred. That's why they changed rush.

That it's that it is still SO important and that women here thinking nothing of wielding the power of recs to revenge real and imagination slights or out of jealousy that their daughter didn't turn out quite as well.

While I think it wise to know what one's critics are saying as some of it may be warranted and offer opportunity for improvement and I can find ways to give lie to that which is not, I didn't see the point in naming the school as every school has their bad apples.

As for the churches, well I can't think of one that wouldn't/hasn't welcomed any sinner back but it's not the church anyway, it's the cultural inclination here to accept the pronouncement " I'm a Christian now" as being good enough. Easy to say one is a Christian. As a result, there are no real consequences to all the behaviors you describe IF you have money and family protecting you.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm guessing 10:56 is the person being spoken of.... Who are you? And how is this connected to Fraziers?

Anonymous said...

OK! Now I know the school, and that the boys were not superjocks at Prep or St. Andrews. They were not like Chance Wayne, in 'Sweet Bird of Youth', who was so attractive the women could not stand it.

And I want to know which church, because that might tell me things about their ancestry/social position/family aspirations toward social position.

Come on, folks! Pretend you're Dominick Dunne or Truman Capote, and paint me some portraits of this clan!

Particularly, I want to know what sort of distractions/ploys they used in persuading others to 'invest' with them. There are AFFINITY SCAMS. There are lures. There are guilt angles...

Did they use an implied promise of entree into a select swing group, to distract 'marks' from rationally dissecting the investment opportunities being offered? Or, did they shake a Cross in your face, while picking your pocket?

Oh... and how much, exactly, did the photos of Claiborne in the Swinger ads show? I find all of this quite titillating.

Descriptions, please!

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear, don't you know the denominational churches du jour?

Anonymous said...

Why is there no update on Spencer Copeland going to trial today?

Anonymous said...

6:12 I was wondering the same thing. Do you know anything?

Anonymous said...

Charges against Spencer Copeland were dismissed this morning. Gov't didn't have enough to convict him. Besides he didn't deserve to go to jail simply because he has two piece of shit step-brothers.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should look at the sups that worked there and all the equipment and supplies they stole and have hidden still

They all new Austin and ce wouldn't and couldn't say anything. But the sups would purposefully set up vendors they knew would never get paid. Hell pretty sad when they would use family. Not sure who was worth the sups or the fraziers.

So guess the sups just as guilty just didn't go to jail

But hey they went straight to work for the copelands

Isn't that so nice of them since one Copeland got off

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