Former Greeneville man pleads guilty to embezzlement scheme
Greeneville, Tenn. – On December 19, 2019, Shain A. Chappell, 48, currently of Helena, Montana, entered a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville. Sentencing has been set for May 1, 2020, at 9:00 a.m., in United States District Court in Greeneville.
Chappell faces a term of up to 23 years in Federal prison, $500,000 in fines, and supervised release of three years.
As part of the written plea agreement, Chappell waived an indictment by a Federal Grand Jury and agreed to plead guilty to the aforementioned charges. Chappell admitted to using his position as controller to embezzle over $1 million from his former employer, Greentech Environmental, LLC, in Johnson City. Chappell began employment as controller in October 2015, and by July 2017, had devised a scheme where Greentech would falsely pay for his personal credit card purchases by showing the payments as purchases of inventory in Greentech’s books and records.
During the two year period, Chappell embezzled money by causing Greentech to pay for lavish lifestyle expenditures. Chappell’s luxury purchases included clothing, shoes, jewelry, meals, vacations, sports memorabilia, athletic and concert tickets, firearms, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a hot tub, and significant charitable contributions. In addition to stealing from Greentech, Chappell filed false tax returns for calendar years 2017 and 2018 that failed to include income from the money stolen from his employer, resulting in additional income tax owed of over $350,000.
“The federal law enforcement agencies are to be congratulated for their detection, investigation and successful prosecution of this individual. The devastation caused by economic white collar crimes from embezzlement negatively impacts many people. Our office will continue in our efforts to uncover these crimes and prosecute the individuals responsible” said United States Attorney J. Douglas Overbey.
"The FBI is committed to investigate and pursue those who commit fraud for personal gain and we take that responsibility very seriously. We along with our law enforcement partners will continue to seek justice and hold accountable those who use illegal means and criminal behavior to take advantage of others” said Special Agent in Charge Joseph E. Carrico.
“IRS Criminal Investigation agents play an important role in fraud and embezzlement investigations due to complex financial transactions that can take time to unravel, “said Matthew D. Line, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Charlotte Field Office. “Mr. Chappell abused his position as controller and stole from his employer by embezzling company funds for personal gain. In addition to cheating his employer, Mr. Chappell hid these gains from the IRS and cheated taxpayers by failing to pay taxes on this ill-gotten income.”
The criminal information and plea agreement are the result of an ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations.
Mac D. Heavener, III, Assistant United States Attorney represented the United States.