Investigators: Organic farm CEO removed monitoring bracelet, fle - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Investigators: Organic farm CEO removed monitoring bracelet, fled jurisdiction

James Lawhorne(Source: WAFF) James Lawhorne(Source: WAFF)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Investigators with the Alabama Securities Commission say James Lawhorne, the former CEO of Cypress Creek Organic Farms, removed his ankle monitoring bracelet and fled North Alabama. A Madison County grand jury indicted Lawhorne on 24 counts of securities fraud in connection to the organic farm business.

The court initially set Lawhorne's bond at $600,000. An attorney for Lawhorne asked for a lower bond. The judge then dropped bond to $100,000. The judge ordered Lawhorne wear a supervised electronic monitor and avoid all contact with the Cypress Creek victims.

State investigators say Lawhorne violated those conditions, contacting victims and witnesses in the case. The filing included a copy of the email received by the victims. Investigators say, “It is evident the defendant is still attempting to convince investors he has done nothing wrong…” Investigators then accuse Lawhorne of witness tampering.

The email, provided by the court includes accusations against WAFF 48 and reporter Margo Gray. It also includes a federal lawsuit Lawhorne claims to have filed against WAFF 48 Parent Company Raycom Media. No such lawsuit has been filed. In short, the suit appears as bogus as claims his tomato farmers could make $25,000 a year. WAFF 48 stands by every report.

Investigators say they believe Lawhorne is in North Carolina, where he started a worm farm business after the collapse of Cypress Creek Organic Farms.

A warrant has been issued for Lawhorne's arrest. Once arrested, he will be held without bond pending a hearing.

To view the court document, click here.

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