Archive for Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lawrence builder pleads guilty in bank fraud case, will testify against others

David Ray Freeman, a Lawrence builder, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to commit bank fraud in connection with an anticipated building boom in Junction City.

June 30, 2009, 11:28 a.m. Updated June 30, 2009, 2:40 p.m.


Related document

David Freeman's plea agreement ( .PDF )

Related document

David Ray Freeman court documents ( .PDF )

— David Ray Freeman, a Lawrence builder, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to commit bank fraud in connection with an anticipated building boom in Junction City.

As part of a plea agreement, Freeman, 45, agreed to provide the government with information and to testify against others who might have been involved in an influence-peddling scheme that is said to reach into Junction City government.

“I gave money to a city commissioner in Junction City to influence him on certain projects,” Freeman told U.S. District Judge Richard Rogers, during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Topeka.

Rogers accepted Freeman’s plea, and set sentencing for Sept. 29. But attorneys on both sides of the case acknowledged that Freeman’s sentencing likely would be put off, at least until other indictments and potential trials had been given a chance to run their course.

At least one other person clearly rests in the government’s prosecutorial sights: an as-yet unnamed Junction City commissioner Freeman admitted befriending as early as 2004, a man referred to in case documents as “firefighter.”

Freeman admitted making or directing payments totaling $19,000 to the commissioner in 2006 and 2007. One of the transactions, Freeman acknowledged, involved Freeman having one of his own assistants draw and cash a check for $9,000, then deliver the money to the commissioner at a rest stop between Junction City and Topeka.

Less than a year earlier, Big D Development and Big D Construction — a combined company owned by Freeman and three other partners from Lawrence — had secured development contracts for two housing projects in Junction City. Together, the agreements were worth a combined total of $12 million to Big D.

Richard Hathaway, an assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, declined to discuss the potential for filing additional indictments related to Freeman’s push to develop housing in Junction City as the military planned to boost the presence of troops at nearby Fort Riley. Assisting Hathaway during the hearing was Bonnie Lowe, a former Lawrence mayor and former bank official now working in the U.S. attorney’s office as a financial investigator.

After the hearing, Carl Cornwell, Freeman’s attorney, declined to reveal details about what his client might disclose to federal prosecutors. But he did concede that the case wasn’t anywhere near complete.

“He’s accepting responsibility,” Cornwell said, outside the fourth-floor courtroom. “He’s accepting responsibility for what he did.

“David Freeman is a man, and he’s taking it like a man — unlike all the other fellas who hopefully are going to be indicted, and there will be a lot of them.”

As part of his plea deal, Freeman also agreed to “fully and completely assist” the government in its identification and recovery of any “forfeitable assets” acquired by Freeman or any others in connection with illegal activities.

Cornwell, in the interview after the hearing, doubted the government would find anything.

“There’s nothing,” Cornwell said. “He didn’t make any money out there. He lost money. There are no identifiable assets.”

Freeman was released on a signature bond.


hail2oldku 8 years ago

The excrement is about to hit the spinning blades.

newsreader 8 years ago

So he got busted, and now he's flipped. No honor among thieves...

headdoctor 8 years ago

Interesting, and what other Lawrence builders are up to their eyeballs in Junction City construction? Hmm.

whorwe2judge 8 years ago

Just curious.....I don't look at this as snitching......I look at this like this man is being accountable for his actions and if it means telling the truth then so be it!......Is that snitching? I don't think it matters how it's handled...... If he didn't tell the truth, then someone would say something about that and if he does tell the truth, then he's "snitching"! Again people make mistakes and I personally think it's better to admit them and learn from them and take your consequences. And shouldn't everyone that was a part of this be held accountable? My thoughts are they should be!

kawvalleybulldog 8 years ago

Textbook snitching. Believe me, he's not "being accountable for his actions", he's attempting to reduce his sentence.

whorwe2judge 8 years ago

If thats what it is I think I would too!........If I had done something like this and others were involved.......I really think that I would make a deal too!.......Why would I do 30 years and everyone else be free.......I don't know but if I was guessing I bet a whole lot of people would make a deal! ..........Wrong is Wrong and everyone involved should have consequences!.....Am I the only one that thinks that way?

TheDefinition 8 years ago

He'd sell out his own family before taking the blame for what he did. He always tried to be in the big leagues when really he had nothing to show for it. Now we know why it appeared that "Big D" had cash. Pathetic.

CLARKKENT 8 years ago


Richard Heckler 8 years ago

It has not been a secret that several Lawrence builders went to Junction City to create another cookie cutter community and maybe further crummy construction practices.

Also there have been rumors about a builder in Eudora that received money for homes that never were built????

littlebirdie 8 years ago

Were are the tickets for this big D show ? Bring your own cuffs boys.

Mr_Missive 8 years ago

So who were Freeman's Lawrence partners and who delivered the cash. Who was Freeman's banker? We want to know.

Michael Capra 8 years ago

he funneled money though all his subs making all the bills higher and taking the cash look at the subs and all the south of the border help they paid cash to hello freeman xxx you are a rippoff what you made 3 million or 300.000 milion you tell the feds now

justmememe 8 years ago

After living in a home built by another Freeman company, the people of Junction City should probably consider themselves lucky.

thetruth2010 8 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

walleyefishn 8 years ago

What happened to big d casino in las vegas. And the two houses that he built for himself and never lived in them.We call freeman (big hat no cattle)

LawrenceXX 8 years ago

Merrill, I'm not seeing any connection between Freeman and the Lawrence banker, also what does his brother owning Sutherland Lumber Company have to do with anything here?

CLARKKENT 8 years ago


ou812mr2 8 years ago


KURocks 8 years ago

I'm sure Lou Perkins is laughing, since that thorn in his side (joe college) is going to be caught up in this.

meatwagon 8 years ago

Hmmmmmm... wondering what names could drop today. Could it be a certain Lawrence "developer" whose son was just given a walk-on position with KU basketball?! Oh... did I mention his son didn't even start on a 1-20 LHS baskeball team? Gosh... I guess he's just go a tremendous upside. :)

CLARKKENT 8 years ago


BobtheBuilder 8 years ago

The guy from Joe-College is definitely no longer a partner with Freeman. I believe he broke ties with him last January or February. He wants nothing to do with that guy.

whatsup 8 years ago

Ironically the Feds cracked down on Sutherland's Bank and Freeman at the same time. Check who was Freeman's lenders in town!

Clickker 8 years ago

Hmmmmmm… wondering what names could drop today. Could it be a certain Lawrence “developer” whose son was just given a walk-on position with KU basketball?! Oh… did I mention his son didn't even start on a 1-20 LHS baskeball team? Gosh… I guess he's just go a tremendous upside. :)

What? Bechard has been a walkon for a few years. He didnt "just" become a walkon

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

Toxic Financing had to written up by who knows who before toxic loans could be purchased by the big Wall Street firms.

What will surface?

meatwagon 8 years ago

What? Bechard has been a walkon for a few years. He didnt “just” become a walkon

It's not Bechard. Think this year's Free State basketball team. I mistakenly put LHS.

Clickker 8 years ago

"Think this year's Free State basketball team. I mistakenly put LHS."


However, I think he will have to settle for his dads seats right BEHIND the bench..not on it. NO WAY he is accepted as a walkon. Simply not that good.

wildman1 8 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

concernedmember59 8 years ago

CLARKKENT, who is the big fish you speak of? Why don't you spill the name.

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

Bonnie Lowe working as a financial investigator........ could this be a fox in the chicken coop?

Or could it be that Ms. Lowe got caught up in this mess as well and is now cooperating?

ilovelucy 8 years ago

Good lord, Merrill. Why don't you waste your brain on other pursuits? I can assure you without a doubt that Ms. Lowe is NOT caught up in this mess. Why do you think rumors and gossip get started? Because of peabrains like you. Respectfully, Lucy

sherbert 8 years ago

Grow up people, this isn't Jr. High School. Get a life and quit reveling in other peoples problems. It's one thing to have interest and read the news, but totally another to speculate and name names of people you know nothing about.

BigAl 8 years ago

Wow. Some people on here have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. None. Zero. And it is obvious. I know several home builders in Lawrence who are not only good home builders, they are good men. These are good, honest, hardworking family men and they also provide jobs in Lawrence. Most of them buy their supplies locally as well. This includes their trucks, their plumbing and electric supplies, heating and a/c and all building materials.
It is pathetic how so many people lump everyone under one umbrella.

Scott Overfield 8 years ago

I'm with you Bob, but the payments were made back in 2007, way before January or February.

jhawker20 8 years ago

Larry Sinks is the Sleaze ball that started this mess, to get out of his problems with Joe College. If you don’t really know anything about the situation who are you to say someone would sell out their family to cover their ass, Big D would do anything for his family. Everyone can speculate but only time will tell who did what.

lenovo 8 years ago

HAHA! Lawrence developers are a joke. All of them. They all have small man syndrome because they can't be big timers like big city developers can. HAHA! Only an idiot "brags" to people about running an extortion scheme... Big D and the rest of his criminal gang will return to the life that once defined them, and that is lower-middle-class existence. D had his shot at being a developer, but crumbled when his small mind criminal ways interfered with his integrity. You know, this would be a great documentary: "From Mansion to Prison: When small town developers hit it big, and promptly regress to the mean". LOL.

crude_man820 8 years ago

hope he tells all, can't wait to see if he lives to tell the story.

whorwe2judge 8 years ago

yeah i hope he tells all too and you are a crude man to say something like that .....can't wait to see if he lives to tell the story! That just shows what kind of person you are...."you can't wait" Wow!

jumpin_catfish 8 years ago

Builders are right in line with Chicago politicians on the sleaze scale.

lawrence_4_life 8 years ago

Reading MR. SINKS comments in the newspaper about his seperation from Big D Development due to thier business practices is a joke, I can only chuckle at this because anyone and everyone in lawrence thats knows Mr. Sinks knows that his business practices are always in question! As far back as Couch Brown! There is obvious reasons why KU will not license him!! I truely believe that Mr. Sinks will be going down the drain real soon as well!

Richard Heckler 7 years, 9 months ago

Rumors are abound that the $19,000 source is First Management.

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