A Lawrence man whose disclosures to federal investigators led to KU uncovering a theft of nearly 20,000 athletics tickets worth up to $3 million is now in federal custody.
David R. Freeman, 46, will serve an 18-month prison term after being convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He reported last week to the Federal Correctional Complex in Forrest City, Ark., where he resides in a camp with 300 other minimum-security inmates.
The complex is in eastern Arkansas, a nine-hour drive from Lawrence, just off Interstate 40 between Little Rock, Ark., and Memphis, Tenn.
The complex handles both medium- and minimum-security inmates.
“Mr. Freeman is at the minimum component, also referred to as a camp,” said R.D. Weeks, spokesman for the complex. “Living quarters at the camp are cubicle, meaning dormitory-style housing. … Minimum-security level inmates are screened to ensure that they do not pose a threat to society.”
Freeman was convicted in June 2009, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud in connection with a bribery scheme involving a Junction City commissioner to land Freeman’s company development contracts worth $12 million.
In connection with a plea agreement, Freeman soon told authorities how he and others schemed to sell Kansas University basketball tickets to brokers. Federal authorities later approached administrators at Kansas Athletics Inc., who in turn eventually asked KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to order an internal investigation.
That investigation, led by a Wichita-based law firm with assistance from a team of forensic auditors, determined that nearly 20,000 football and basketball tickets had been improperly taken from KU and sold — by five employees of Kansas Athletics Inc. and a sixth working as a consultant — for personal gain.
The KU investigation was limited to regular-season tickets during 2005-2010, the only period that investigators said they could document. Freeman’s disclosures to authorities included information about post-season tickets, reaching back to NCAA Final Fours in Atlanta and New Orleans.
KU officials have acknowledged that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is continuing its own investigation, with input from the IRS and FBI. An investigator for KU’s internal report has suggested that the financial losses detailed by federal investigators likely would push KU’s losses well beyond the $1 million to $3 million outlined in the internal report.
While Freeman received a reduced sentence in exchange for his testimony, he did not escape prison time — something that Freeman’s attorney, Carl Cornwell, hopes to change.
“I’m not going to stop working until I get him out,” Cornwell said.