FBI Raids Sommet Group In Cool Springs - NewsChannel5.com | Nashvil...

The FBI along with the IRS criminal investigation's division and the Department of Labor have all gone into the Sommet Group headquarters in Franklin with a search warrant. Full Story
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Jon

AOL

#2 Jul 6, 2010
More white collar crooks. Why? GREED. Add, that TN is very strict on which health insurance companies can sell a policy in TN. Mutual of Omaha could not in 80-83. Our officer about folded in Pulaski. Mutual of Omaha is as good as they get.
Jon

AOL

#3 Jul 6, 2010
To clarify, any state that allows BC/BS a monopoly, will lose competition.
PERPLEXED

Spring Hill, TN

#4 Jul 6, 2010
These incompetent people at the Sommet Group are just that...INCOMPETENT! As someone who knows what is going on first hand....I cannot believe that it has gotten to this point. Clients have lost tons of money that was given to them in good faith. We have also no insurance, no flex and the list goes on! I hope the FBI, IRS, Dept of Labor and whoever else is involved make sure that the Sommet Group cannot do this to anyone else. Brian Whitfield his wife Marsha and all who took part in this shady business better hope and pray that someone has mercy on them. The fact that they are living in their big house in Franklin and everyone else is now trying to pick up the pieces to the biggest mess they probably have ever had to deal with just kills me! Karma People...Karma!
concerned

United States

#5 Jul 6, 2010
18k is not that much money. my divorce cost more. what is the real story?
EXSOMMETEMPLOYEE

Franklin, TN

#6 Jul 6, 2010
Get ready for a ride, folks. It is going to get much deeper and complex. Not only is Sommet guilty of what is listed on the affidavit today, but more will be uncovered. In fact, they offered a long/short term disability and group health product. One of Sommet's client employees was killed. When the long/short term disability and group life companies were notified, coverage was not even in effect...so no benefit to a young family that obviously needed it. Sommet NEVER paid the premium. Where did the money go you ask? I can tell you...private jet trips to the Islands, Porche convertibles, a $500K houseboat, 2 new cars for his high maintenance wife, plastic surgery for both him and his wife, cocaine, buying toys for his new "buddy" that was a University of Tennessee All American Swimmer that never held a job before that and made a RIDICULOUS salary, starting a taxi cab company called Willco for this same guy, and hanging out and trying to impress his entourage of 25 year old kids. BrandCentrik, ITXPRESS, and EMG Communications are ALL Sommet Group companies and they are going to do their best to disassociate themselves from Sommet Group. But, if you hire them, guess what, you are supplying money to this egotistical narcisist to do more damage to people.
EXSOMMETEMPLOYEE

Franklin, TN

#7 Jul 6, 2010
Concerning the employment of the Mr. Ben Purser...the former FBI Director of Tennessee. Plain and simple, Ben Purser was there to 1) cover up Whitfield's wrong-doings, 2) intimidate and threaten employees who left the company because they found out what was really going on, 3) arrange surveillance on ex-employees by hiring his old croanies at the FBI who are now private investigators, which broke into an ex-employees house looking for evidence that was taken out of the office when that employee left 4) collect a RIDICULOUS salary of over $300K per year to serve at the pleasure of Mr. Whitfield.
Don't think Purser is an angel. He is the most corrupt person I have ever worked with and he personally coached Mr. Whitfield how to cover up things and operate under the radar of the law for so long. The bank cut off Whitfield last week. Amazing how Purser resigned after that. Why? Well, not because he found out all this stuff was going on (after all, he orchestrated it), but came to the realization that he was not going to be paid like before. Definition of law enforcement goes bad....Mr. Purser. Ask any Sommet employee....no one had a clue what Mr. Purser job description was, but all knew why he was there.
EXSOMMETEMPLOYEE

Franklin, TN

#8 Jul 6, 2010
What is even more sickening is that Senior Management met Monday, July 5th to discuss the future of the company. It was decided then that Sommet Group would dissolve. Employees were notified over the phone by other personnel in the company that they no longer had a job. And, when the FBI came into our office today, Brian and Marsha were no where to be found.

And while the company hung in the balance this past weekend, Mr. and Mrs. Whitfield were enjoying life on their $500K houseboat at Hurricane Marina at Center Hill Lake, a boat paid for with the health, 401K, payroll taxes, worker's comp premiums, and Christmas Club Savings their clients trusted them with.

Remember....ITXPRESS, EMG Communications, and Brandcentrik are all companies owned by Mr. Whitfield. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THESE COMPANIES! All you will be doing is lining Mr. Whitfield's pockets again.

May he and his wife get what is coming to them. Arrogant, over-inflated fools they really are!
Karma

Columbia, TN

#9 Jul 7, 2010
Amen to that....may they get what they deserve. I have personally witnessed this man destroy peoples lives.
concerned ex client

Antioch, TN

#10 Jul 7, 2010
Does anyone know if John Coleman was still working there and if not when he left?
EXSOMMETEMPLOYEE wrote:
What is even more sickening is that Senior Management met Monday, July 5th to discuss the future of the company. It was decided then that Sommet Group would dissolve. Employees were notified over the phone by other personnel in the company that they no longer had a job. And, when the FBI came into our office today, Brian and Marsha were no where to be found.
And while the company hung in the balance this past weekend, Mr. and Mrs. Whitfield were enjoying life on their $500K houseboat at Hurricane Marina at Center Hill Lake, a boat paid for with the health, 401K, payroll taxes, worker's comp premiums, and Christmas Club Savings their clients trusted them with.
Remember....ITXPRESS, EMG Communications, and Brandcentrik are all companies owned by Mr. Whitfield. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THESE COMPANIES! All you will be doing is lining Mr. Whitfield's pockets again.
May he and his wife get what is coming to them. Arrogant, over-inflated fools they really are!
To ExSommetEmployee

Franklin, TN

#11 Jul 7, 2010
Sounds like you and all the other "knowing" employees had a lot of reasons to leave. So why were you still in the office when the FBI showed up? If all this info was so out in the open "inside" the company then shame on you and everyone that stayed.
Another ex-emp

Franklin, TN

#12 Jul 8, 2010
It sounds like all of the Sommet employees were not there if they were told not to come in at all and only the other business units employees would have been there for the raid. I stopped working there a couple of months ago after several years at Sommet and can tell you that all of the business units ops are not related to Sommet's where all the corruption was. The payroll dept wasn't even on the third floor and rarely were other employees allowed in their offices due to the HIPAA etc laws that protect the type of info they dealt with. Everything that is talked about above was an ongoing assumption that I had, but not something that you would quit your job for without knowing. I left for other reasons, mainly the unprofessional management of all the business units. It was a joke, and obviously not a place where any career could flourish. So shame on you for passing judgement on someone who this week became a victim in this mess!
Shelly

United States

#13 Jul 8, 2010
We were a client of Sommet Group until March 31, 2010 when we changed companies because we knew there were problems. However, we were unable to get our employees' 401(k) funds transferred out of their plan before the raid. Does anyone know who we can contact to get information released so our new 401(k) can transfer the funds. Needless to say, Marsha is not responding to their e-mails...
Future ex-employee

Brentwood, TN

#14 Jul 8, 2010
The other business units had no access to Sommet's Payroll division. They are behind locked/controlled access doors. However, because they share space and equipment, all of the business units are unfortunately affected. Furthermore, all of the employees of all of the business units are affected not just by loss of employement, but by the same grievances made by client companies, including loss of 401(k), unpaid health care claims, unpaid payroll, and so on. Sommet E-mail is not available for any of the business units because the feds took the servers. There is little hope that any reparations will even be possible. All assets are frozen until further notice. I have to go for now. I'll keep an eye on the posts.
another sommet ex

United States

#15 Jul 8, 2010
You are right- the payroll dept was behind locked doors but the payroll department wasn't being told anything more than the rest of the group. The payroll department employees were to do their jobs and it was adamantly denied that there were any money issues or problems. It could all be explained by changing banks, bank errors, etc... Everyone had their own set of theories or speculations but nothing concrete. Everyone has bills and mortgages and not easy walking away from a paycheck on a speculation - especially if you keep being told everything is fine- just a rough patch.
Wondered

Nashville, TN

#16 Jul 8, 2010
Not going to say how I know them, but I knew the Whitfields, and Todds pretty well. I think the world of Ed Todd, didn't know Brian and Marsha as well, but I did know they spent money like it was going out of style. This is tragic for all involved. 100 people have probably just lost their job, and I bet when the dust settles Ed Todd will be vendicated, Brian and this Purser cat could be thrown under the jail.
YetAnotherExEmpl oyee

Nashville, TN

#18 Jul 8, 2010
Wondered wrote:
I think the world of Ed Todd, didn't know Brian and Marsha as well, but I did know they spent money like it was going out of style. This is tragic for all involved. 100 people have probably just lost their job, and I bet when the dust settles Ed Todd will be vendicated, Brian and this Purser cat could be thrown under the jail.
I agree. I used to work at Sommet (Software Developer in their IT department) which actually meant I was employed by ITXpress. But we were all intertwined with Sommet employees. They only way you knew that we were under ITXpress was that was was our paycheck said so. Other than that you would have never known we weren't directly under Sommet. The same wasn't the case for EMG and the field ITXpress employees. They were much more separated.
It was a couple of years ago when I left and things were sketchy then. When I first started working there, there were only about 17 employees and when I left there were about 40. I worked on their accounting software and interfacing their web applications with their back office system. Maybe because we were IT, but the payroll department was much less "under lock and key" at this time. We were all on the 3rd floor during this period. It was always interesting because there were certain payroll clients that Marsha handled (Predators, etc) and no one was allowed access to these clients. I always thought it was very odd that they didn't have more procedures for processing client's payroll. It just always seemed so haphazard and not very well controlled. It was always a damn wonder to me how people got paid on time.
When I worked there there were many rumors that went around. One of the big ones at that time was that we weren't paying Workers Comp insurance for our clients. Of course this hasn't come out in the current allegations, but I imagine that it will eventually.
When I first started working at Sommet it was a WONDERFUL job. I absolutely loved it! We got to pick the computers we worked on and they were custom ordered for us, we were given Bose Noise reducing headphones. Anything we wanted or needed, we got. Even then there were some odd things going on. When we had a health insurance claim, we used our health insurance and were told that we'd never have to pay more than $20 out of pocket. So if I had a prescription that cost $100 with my insurance, I would take my receipt to our benefit administrator and they would reimburse me $80 in a separate check. If I went to the ER and had to pay $150 out of pocket, I would take my EOB to Sommet and they would write me a $130 check. It was just a bit odd... I couldn't complain though because it made my expenses less.
Over the time that I worked there though (mainly after the naming rights deal with the Arena), Brian started by getting hair implants, nicer cars, etc. Brian and Marsha started getting moodier and moodier. You had to check their mood before bringing anything up and you definitely didn't want to be on Marsha's bad side. And by the time I left things were pretty horrible. Everyone at the Officer level was horribly stressed.(I imagine from the pressures that Brian put on them). There were times would I would have to work until 2 in the morning because of promises made to clients.
I agree 100% though. Ed Todd is a wonderful wonderful man! I would bet a good bit of money that he had nothing to do with this. In fact, I've heard from quite a few sources who were still working at Sommet that he had gotten pretty much ousted from the company by Brian.
AndAnother

United States

#19 Jul 8, 2010
I agree. Ed is a nice person, however he may have gotten in a little over his head a few years ago, which enabled BW to take over more that 51% ownership. In the end, however, I don't see how an equity partner can escape criminal, or civil, issues that will likely come from all this.

It is unfortunate for Ed because I don't think he intentionally did anything with criminal intent, however, working haphazardly in a highly regulated industry can have ramifications.

I would wager that at least three people will likely serve some time over this. BW, BP (if he wasn't undercover) and JC. Hopefully MW can stay clean to take care of their young children.
YetAnotherExEmployee wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree 100% though. Ed Todd is a wonderful wonderful man! I would bet a good bit of money that he had nothing to do with this. In fact, I've heard from quite a few sources who were still working at Sommet that he had gotten pretty much ousted from the company by Brian.
concerned ex client

Antioch, TN

#20 Jul 8, 2010
Who is JC? John Coleman?
AndAnother wrote:
I agree. Ed is a nice person, however he may have gotten in a little over his head a few years ago, which enabled BW to take over more that 51% ownership. In the end, however, I don't see how an equity partner can escape criminal, or civil, issues that will likely come from all this.
It is unfortunate for Ed because I don't think he intentionally did anything with criminal intent, however, working haphazardly in a highly regulated industry can have ramifications.
I would wager that at least three people will likely serve some time over this. BW, BP (if he wasn't undercover) and JC. Hopefully MW can stay clean to take care of their young children.
<quoted text>
BW-dontdroptheso ap

Nashville, TN

#21 Jul 8, 2010
JC is John Coleman.
concerned ex client

Antioch, TN

#22 Jul 8, 2010
He will plea deal or turn evidence
BW-dontdropthesoap wrote:
JC is John Coleman.

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