Hog farmer starts prison term in pollution case

From staff reportsMarch 16, 2013 

— A Columbus County hog farmer is finally taking steps to settle his $1.5 million debt with the state and prison time, more than a year after he pleaded guilty of intentionally discharging 324,000 gallons of hog waste into the Waccamaw River tributary.

William Barry Freedman reported to the U.S. Marshall’s office on Friday to begin to serve a six-month federal prison sentence and made a $200,000 installment payment toward his debt, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office.

Freedman negotiated a deal with prosecutors to serve six-months in federal prison and six months of home confinement; $500,000 fine and $1 million in five installments to the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust to mitigate the damage cause by the crime.

But Freedman failed to make restitution. The U.S. District Attorney’s office took the case back to court two weeks ago after discovering Freedman transferred some of his property and assets to family members between September and October in what they said was an effort to hinder prosecutors attempt to collect on his debt.

His attorney disputed that characterization.

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