Maritime Instructor Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Wire Fraud
Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that MAURICE GEORGE, age 45, of Napoleonville, pled guilty yesterday to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud.
According to court documents, GEORGE was employed by Beier Radio, L.L.C., located in Louisiana, which manufactured maritime electronics products including Dynamic Positioning Systems (“DPS”). DPS is a maritime vessel computer system that automatically maintains a vessel’s position and heading by using position reference sensors and the vessel’s propellers and thrusters. Beier operated a DPS training center in Gray, Louisiana under the name “The Marine Training Institute.” Beier’s Marine Training Institute provided technical and operational training courses for Beier DPS customers. In 2007, GEORGE began working as an instructor for Beier Radio’s Marine Training Institute and taught DPS courses at Beier’s Louisiana classroom facility. Typically, Beier charged tuition in the amount of $2,000 to $2,500 for their DPS courses.
Between 2007 and 2013, GEORGE devised a scheme to embezzle approximately $334,892 from Beier Radio. On approximately 225 occasions, GEORGE negotiated monetary payments of approximately $1,200 to $2,000 with “students,” which he kept for himself, in exchange for endorsing and certifying their log books and for issuing DPS certificates of training from Beier Radio. In order to conceal his activities, GEORGE failed to create invoices for his illegal transactions and failed to have DPS students complete registration materials
GEORGE instructed DPS students to pay him directly by check made payable to “MAURICE GEORGE.” GEORGE also forged the signatures of various employees of Beier Radio on the DPS training certificates. The Indictment alleges that GEORGE deposited the illegal payments into his personal checking account with ASI Federal Credit Union. It is important to note that the investigation determined the overwhelming majority of GEORGE’s students did actually attend the DPS courses.
GEORGE faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, followed by up to three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon set sentencing on July 20, 2017.
Acting U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), as well as the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service who assisted HSI in this investigation. Fraud Unit Chief, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba is in charge of the prosecution.