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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Wisconsin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 9, 2019

“Consummate Conman” Sentenced for Defrauding Brillion Company

United States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on April 5, 2019, Neil A. Harkness (age: 47) of Fairborn, Ohio, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison for his violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, commonly referred to as “wire fraud.”

In the Spring of 2017, the Brillion Police Department was contacted by “Company A” located in Brillion, Wisconsin. “Company A” suspected that its employee, Neil A. Harkness, had submitted fraudulent hotel and meal expense receipts resulting in over $20,000 in loss to the company. Further investigation revealed that Harkness was also involved in the theft of the industrial adhesive Loctite while working as Company A’s sales representative in Ohio. Given the interstate nature of the alleged crimes, the FB I took over the investigation. Harkness was charged with multiple counts of wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property, and aggravated identity theft.  Pursuant to a plea agreement, Harkness pled guilty to one count of wire fraud. 

At the sentencing hearing, Chief Judge William C. Griesbach heard hours of testimony as to the amount of loss to Company A.  Ultimately, Judge Griesbach determined that Harkness had defrauded the company of $23,239 by submitting fraudulent hotel receipts for reimbursement. He further found that Harkness stole $194,000 worth of Loctite, which he then sold on Ebay and other internet resale sites for his own enrichment. 

Judge Griesbach called Harkness’ actions “serious” and noted that he was the “consummate conman.” He found a strong need to protect the public from Harkness and was convinced that without a term of imprisonment, the defendant would continue his fraudulent behavior. The judge rejected Harkness’ request for probation. He also ordered 3 years of Supervised Release and ordered Harkness to pay restitution to his former employer in the amount of $219,057.14.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Brillion Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel R. Humble.

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Updated April 9, 2019