Joshua Davis King Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Helena, on August 8, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, JOSHUA DAVIS KING, a 33-year-old resident of MIssoula, pled guilty to wire fraud. Sentencing has been set for November 14, 2012.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
Beginning sometime in 2006, and continuing until January 29, 2011, KING devised a material scheme to defraud his employer, Western Building Center ("WBC") of Polson, out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and thereafter transmitted and caused to be transmitted in interstate commerce, writings, signs, and signals to execute the scheme.
KING was employed as the manager of the tool department of WBC and had been given authority to order tools, goods, and supplies from WBC's suppliers. When placing orders for WBC, KING would add additional items to the order which were not required by the company. For example, the additional tools ordered by KING included items such as Dewalt 9 pack combo kits and Makita four piece tool kits. These additional items were paid for by the company through the normal course of business. However KING did not enter the additional tools into WBC's inventory when they were received from WBC's suppliers.
KING advertised the tools for sale on Ebay using the screen name "wbctool." Individual Ebay users, not knowing the tools did not belong to KING, placed bids and ultimately purchased the tools posted for sale by KING.
KING then used Ebay, in conjunction with PayPal, to collect and receive the proceeds from the individual Ebay users who had purchased the tools. The funds collected by KING from the tool sales were not returned to WBC, but instead were put to KING's own use and benefit. KING used his personal PayPal debit card to access, receive, and spend the proceeds from the embezzled and stolen tools.
In May, 2011, KING was interviewed by law enforcement at the Lake County Sheriff's Office and stated that during his employment with WBC, he would "take items and sell them on Ebay." He also stated that he would "keep the money" from the sale of these items on his PayPal account. He stated that in his capacity as the tool manager he would place orders for tools he needed for WBC and would then include one or two extra tools in the order. KING stated that he would pay for the tools by providing a purchase order number belonging to WBC. KING stated that when the orders arrived, he would take the extra tools he had ordered and sell them on Ebay. KING stated that all of the proceeds from these stolen tools were credited to his PayPal account. KING stated that he thought he had stolen approximately $280,000 in tools from WBC during the course of his scheme to defraud.
KING faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the U.S. Secret Service and the Lake County Sheriff's Office.