COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WAAY) - The CEO of a railcar manufacturing company is accused of lying about how much it would cost to build a massive production facility in Colbert County.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested Gregory James Aziz Wednesday at Chicago Midway International Airport, after a Colbert County grand jury indicted him on 10 counts of securities fraud. Aziz is expected to be extradited to Alabama at a later date.
Aziz is accused of supplying fraudulent financial information to Retirement Systems of Alabama concerning the cost to build a railcar production facility in Colbert County.
Aziz, the head of Canada-based National Steel Car, created National Alabama Corporation to build and operate the railcar manufacturing facility in Colbert County, according to the indictment. The indictment states Aziz and his brother began negotiating with RSA in September 2006 for financing to build the facility, which was expected to create 1,800 jobs.
The indictment alleges Aziz and his brother indicated to RSA the entire project would cost well under what they knew it would actually cost and planned to avoid being responsible for repaying the loan.
RSA invested close to $625 million in the facility and ended up taking it over in 2010, eventually leasing it out to Navistar and FreightCar America for production.
If convicted, Aziz faces up to 10 years in prison and fines, as well as paying restitution to RSA.
Aziz's attorneys released a brief statement Thursday afternoon that read:
"Greg Aziz, his family and attorneys are reviewing the claims, which they just recently received. Mr. Aziz will cooperate and is hopeful that these matters can be resolved."