Trucking Company Manager and Co-conspirator Sentenced in Scheme to Steal over $326,000
Submitted Over 1,400 Fraudulent Invoices for Truck Repairs
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Clyde Leroy Lewis, Jr., a/k/a J.R. Lewis, age 43, of Prattsburgh, New York, today to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for mail fraud conspiracy and aiding in the preparation of false tax returns, arising from a scheme to embezzle from Lewisâ€™ employer. Judge Hollander entered an order requiring Lewis to pay restitution of $381,361.68 and to forfeit at least $326,870.68.
Judge Hollander also sentenced Christopher Paul Windsor, age 55, of League City, Texas, today to a year and a day in prison, followed by three months of home detention as part of three years of supervised release, for the mail fraud conspiracy. Judge Hollander also entered an order requiring Windsor to pay restitution and to forfeit $326,870.68.
The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel S. Cortez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service -Washington Division; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Eric C. Hylton of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
According to their plea agreements, Lewis was the operations manager for Home Run, Inc., an interstate freight hauler based in Xenia, Ohio, with an office in Thurmont, Maryland and a repair shop and garage located in Lewistown, Maryland. Lewis was based in Maryland and his duties included managing Home Runâ€™s East Coast operations. In May 2004, Home Run purchased trailers from Transportation Specialtyâ€™s Inc. (TSI), a company owned by Windsor. Lewis participated in these purchases with Windsor on behalf of Home Run.
Beginning in early 2006, Lewis and Windsor conspired to defraud Home Run by submitting fraudulent TSI invoices. Windsor created false TSI invoices for repairs purportedly done by TSI on Home Runâ€™s trailers. At this time, TSI existed in name only, did not have employees to do such work, and Windsor was not even in Maryland, but lived in Texas. Moreover, Home Run had employees and contractors whose duty was to maintain its trucks and trailers. Lewis admitted that he used his position as Home Runâ€™s operations manager to authorize the false TSI invoices for payment. The invoices listed TSIâ€™s mailing address as a post office box in Thurmont that Lewis had rented. Lewis retrieved the payments that Home Run mailed to the post office box and delivered them to Windsor. Windsor deposited the payments into TSIâ€™s corporate account, transferred the funds to his personal bank account and wrote a check to Lewis for about 60% of the funds fraudulently secured from Home Run, keeping about 40% for himself.
The scheme continued until at least July 2008, when Home Run discovered the theft. Home Run fired Lewis in October 2008. Further investigation determined that between March 2006 and July 2008 Lewis authorized and submitted over 1,400 false invoices for payment, ranging from less than $250 to over $3,500, and totaling over $325,000 in losses to Home Run.
Lewis earned additional illicit income during this time by charging rent to a mechanic who worked out of Home Runâ€™s Lewistown, Maryland facility. Lewis never reported the rent payments to Home Run and instead deposited them directly into his personal bank account. Lewis failed to report either of these sources of income to the tax preparer who prepared Lewisâ€™ personal tax returns for 2006, 2007 and 2008. The total tax loss suffered by the IRS as a result of Lewisâ€™s actions was at least $54,491.
Lewis also admitted that he obstructed a grand jury investigation. On May 18, 2010, after being notified of the investigation, Lewis falsely advised investigators that the money he received from Windsor was commission for independent consulting work Lewis performed for TSI. Lewis also told investigators that he never received money from the mechanic who worked out of Home Runâ€™s Lewistown garage, when in fact he charged the mechanic substantial rent, and personally profited from these payments.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and IRS - Criminal Investigation for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Sujit Raman, who prosecuted the case.