A former Sommet Group top executive was summoned to U.S. District Court in Nashville Friday for violating his pretrial release agreement stemming from charges leveled early last year.
Under supervised release, L. Brian Whitfield, in his late 40s, moved to Arizona and then did not notify the court of an address change or a name change.
He stated in court Friday that he changed his last name to “Edwards” because he was part of an online radio program that was about a divorce concierge service. The name change was for “public purposes,” he said. He said the last name “Edwards” was his mother’s maiden name.
Although he was required to talk with government officers once a month, he admitted that he did not notify anyone about his address change, and he had submitted an old address to federal officers in October 2012.
Magistrate Judge John S. Bryant released Whitfield Friday under the same conditions that he has been under and ordered him to be on supervised release in both Tennessee and Arizona, the state in which he lives, and he will remain on a $20,000 bond.
Whitfield along with his estranged wife, Marsha Whitfield, and her father, D. Edwin Todd, were indicted in early 2012 by a federal grand jury for their alleged roles in what prosecutors say was a multiyear scheme to defraud Sommet’s clients out of tens of millions of dollars. Sommet, which formerly held the naming rights to what is now known as Bridgestone Arena, was hired to manage payroll, benefits and other back-offices functions for small businesses and other organizations.
Whitfield, who was co-founder and co-managing partner of Sommet, Marsha Whitfield and Todd are accused of misappropriating clients’ funds for personal expenses and conspiring to cover their tracks when investigators started asking questions.
According to an assistant U.S. attorney, Judge Bryant on Friday encouraged the federal officers to “take any steps to ensure compliance” of Brian Whitfield. Judge Bryant said he found Whitfield’s actions “deliberately deceptive,” but allowed him to remain free on bond and continue to live in Arizona.
Amanda Gambill is with Seigenthaler News Service – MTSU. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.