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Feds want Worth man's property

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The Federal Government says a Sylvester man lived the high-life, buying expensive cars and waterfront homes with money he fraudulently took from the military.

Prosecutors claim Christopher Whitman defrauded the government out of millions of dollars through shipments from the Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base. In a civil complaint for forfeiture, Assistant U.S. Attorneys are asking a Judge to allow the government to seize 122 properties.

Yesterday, we told you about two former Defense Logistics Agency traffic supervisors, stationed at MCLB, who pled guilty in federal court to accepting hundreds of thousands in dollars in bribes from an unnamed Albany trucking company owner.

Now, we know that man's name.

This 97 page civil complaint accuses Christopher Whitman of maintaining the illegal scheme. Whitman has not been indicted, or charged with any crime, or forfeited any property, but in this complaint Assistant U. S. Attorneys accuse Whitman of "unlawful activities."

We went to Christopher Whitman's United Industrial of Georgia headquarters on East Broad Avenue, but were told he was not in. In the federal government's civil complaint, the federal government accuses Whitman and his trucking firms of fraudulent practices to over bill the government.

The complaint accuses Whitman of bribing base employees to give preferential contracts. Wednesday, 48 year old Mitchell Potts and 35 year old Jeff Philpot, both of Sylvester, pled guilty in federal court to bribery. They coordinated shipping at the base, hiring trucking companies to carry freight. The complaint also says that federal investigators stopped several of Whitman's company trucks leaving the base, and found those trucks did not have required paperwork, but were allowed off the base anyway.

Investigators also say seized paperwork shows Whitman's companies billed the government up to four times for a single truckload. The complaint says Whitman's companies did about $37 million in business at the base, but Investigators said they could not give a precise loss amount.

U.S. Assistant Attorney's are requesting that 107 properties in Dougherty, Lee, and Worth Counties and Bay County, Florida be seized. Those properties include dozens of homes, condos, lake front properties, and a Thomas Drive Panama City Beach condo.

The government also is asking to seize 13 cars, trucks, boats, trailers, including a $27,000 Harley Davidson motorcycle and a $50,000 Land Rover. The complaint says that Whitman paid for all of them with an "unlawful activity" defrauding the government, and asks that the court order them forfeited to the United States.

Again, these allegations are made by U.S. Attorney Michael Moore's office in a civil complaint filed in Albany Federal Court. A Judge has not ruled on it. Whitman has not been indicted or charged with a crime, and no properties have been seized.

 As part of their pleas, Potts and Philpot agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation of the trucking scandal at the base, and prosecutors said they expect to make more arrests. We called and visited Whitman's business several times today, but he did not respond.

 

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