Sommet Group founder guilty in $20 million fraud - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Sommet Group founder guilty in $20 million fraud

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The head of the now-defunct Sommet (soh-MAY') Group, which formerly held the naming rights to the Bridgestone Arena, has been found guilty of stealing from clients.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/1EeeJZx ) a federal jury on Friday found Brian Whitfield guilty on 14 of 15 counts related to the $20 million scheme.

The Sommet Group handled payroll, benefits and other back-office functions for businesses. An indictment said Whitfield used money for his personal benefit that was supposed to pay federal taxes, fund 401 K plans and pay medical and prescription drug benefits of employees for Sommet Group's clients.

Whitfield had maintained his innocence. In testimony at trial he blamed his clients' losses on a series of bad business decisions and mismanagement by other executives.

He is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 26.

Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

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