DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 2007                                                                      PHONE: (409) 839-2538
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe                                                                   CELL: (409) 553-9881



TYLER TX  ---  United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe announced today that two North Texas businessmen have been sentenced to federal prison for their role in a corporate fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas.

TIMOTHY SOUTHWELL, 42, of Denton County, and ROBERT BESHIRS, 36, of Ellis County, were each sentenced to 19 months in federal prison, fined $10,000, and ordered to pay $1.75 million in restitution to their victims.

             According to information presented in court, Southwell and Beshirs worked for a corporation that refurbished cellular telephones, and realized that they could divert cellular phones from their employer's inventory.  The Defendants then sold the diverted inventory to another company in New York.  In order to conceal the transactions, Southwell and Beshirs formed a shell corporation and opened a bank account in the shell corporation's name.  Through their scheme, Southwell and Beshirs received almost $2 million in eleven months.

            “This sentence shows that we are hitting criminals hard - whether they are in the boardroom or the street corner.  Corporate executives who commit fraud will be aggressively pursued and will receive substantial and appropriate jail sentences,” commented Assistant United States Attorney Arnold Spencer.  "Southwell and Beshirs were high ranking executives with positions of trust in their company.  Now they are paying the price for abusing the people that trusted them."

            United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe praised the work of the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division.  "This case required persistence and dedication from the IRS agents.  I commend their diligent work in rooting out this fraud and bringing justice for the victims."

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold Spencer as part of the Northeast Texas Securities Fraud Task Force.  The Task Force, which is composed of state and federal regulatory and law enforcement agencies in Northern and Eastern Texas, identifies, investigates and prosecutes corporate and securities fraud.

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