MACON, Georgia (From news reports) -- A Pike County-based timber company is under investigation after allegations of racketeering and elder abuse.
District Attorney David Cooke announced the lawsuit against Cox Land & Timber Inc. and six co-conspirators at a press conference Wednesday.
Cooke said the case involves allegation of illegal conduct in 16 counties - Bibb, Baldwin, Dodge, Fayette, Green, Hancock, Henry, Jasper, Lamar, Meriwether, Monroe, Newton, Pike, Spaulding, Talbot and Taliaferro.
The lawsuit involves the company and its agents harvesting timber from 28 landowners in the above 16 counties.
The Georgia Forestry Commission began the investigation, which shows the defendants allegedly misrepresented the type and amount of timber harvested so they could pay the landowners less than what it was worth. At least 17 of the 28 landowners were elderly.
The defendants also allegedly defrauded Graphic Packaging International so they'd get a larger payment from the mill.
Two people were arrested and charged Tuesday in connection to the suit - John Barnhart Cox, 49, for theft by deception and Jack Uselton Jr., 49, for misrepresenting the origin or ownership of timber.
Both the business and its assets will be held in a receivership while the results of the lawsuit are pending.
The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are possible.