Operations Manager for Trucking Company Indicted for Conspiracy to Steal over $325,000 from His Employer
Charges Also Filed Against Co-Conspirator
Baltimore, Maryland - A federal grand jury has indicted Clyde Leroy Lewis, Jr., a/k/a J.R. Lewis, age 43, of Prattsburgh, New York, on mail fraud and tax charges related to a scheme to embezzle more than $325,000 from his employer. The indictment was returned on September 28, 2011. Lewis had an initial appearance yesterday before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, and was released under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services.
Late yesterday, a criminal information was filed charging Christopher Paul Windsor, age 55, of League City, Texas, for his role in the mail fraud conspiracy. No court appearance has been scheduled for Windsor.
The charges 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 Jeannine A. Hammett of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
“As we have for over 200 years, Postal Inspectors will continue to protect the U.S. mail and Postal Service products from being misused for fraudulent schemes like these,” stated Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel S. Cortez.
“No matter what the source of income, all income is taxable,” said Jeannine A. Hammett Acting Special Agent in Charge of the IRS- Criminal Investigation. “The prosecution of individuals who intentionally conceal income and evade taxes is a vital element of the IRS' enforcement strategy.”
According to the indictment, 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 Run’s East Coast operations. In May 2004, Home Run purchased trailers from Transportation Specialty’s Inc. (TSI), a company owned by Windsor. Lewis participated in these purchases with Windsor on behalf of Home Run.
The 17 count indictment and one count criminal information allege that beginning in 2006, Lewis and Windsor conspired to commit mail fraud against Home Run by creating and submitting over 1,400 fraudulent invoices to Home Run claiming over $325,000 in services allegedly rendered by TSI. In fact, Home Run’s own personnel maintained the company’s vehicles. TSI did not provide the services claimed. Lewis used his position as Home Run’s operations manager to authorize the false TSI invoices for payment. The invoices listed TSI’s mailing address as a post office box in Thurmont that Lewis had rented. According to the indictment, Lewis retrieved the payments from the post office box and delivered them to Windsor, who, after depositing the payments into TSI’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 indictment also charges that Lewis filed false tax returns for tax years 2006 through 2008, by not reporting his total income.
In addition, the indictment alleges that Lewis 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 a mechanic who contracted to work on Home Run’s vehicles. In fact, however, Lewis charged the mechanic substantial rent to work out of Home Run’s Lewistown facility, and personally profited from these payments.
The government is also seeking the forfeiture of at least $325,000, alleged to be the proceeds of the scheme.
Lewis and Windsor face a maximum of 20 years in prison for the mail fraud conspiracy. Lewis also faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each of 12 counts of mail fraud; a maximum of three years in prison for each of three counts of aiding in the preparation of false tax returns; and 20 years in prison for obstruction of an official proceeding.
Neither an indictment nor a criminal information is a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment or criminal information is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
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 is prosecuting the case.