Fry Foods, Inc. Human Resources Manager Sentenced to 41 Months in Federal Prison for Payroll and COVID-19 Testing Schemes
BOISE – A Meridian man was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering based on schemes to defraud his employer, Fry Foods, Inc., during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the plea agreement, Douglas Wold, 49, of Meridian, worked as a Human Resources Manager for Fry Foods, Inc. in Ontario, Oregon, and executed two separate schemes.
First, beginning in at least May 2020 and continuing through August 2020, Wold committed wire fraud by submitting fraudulent payroll requests for individuals who never worked at Fry Foods or who no longer worked at Fry Foods at the time of the payroll requests. Payroll checks were processed based on Wold’s requests. Wold then deposited these fraudulent payroll checks into his own bank accounts.
Second, Wold committed mail fraud with respect to a COVID-19 testing program at Fry Foods’ Weiser location in May 2020. Wold issued a fraudulent invoice to Fry Foods in the name of his business, Hala Lallo Health, for $39,995 when, in fact, the testing was provided by another entity and at a greatly lower cost. When Fry Foods paid Hala Lallo Health for the testing, Wold deposited the funds into a bank account he controlled and did not pay the health care provider that actually conducted the testing.
Wold committed the offense of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity by transferring $69,116.48 in proceeds from his frauds for the purchase a speedboat and trailer, which the Government has since recovered.
“The outcome in this case reflects our office’s longstanding commitment to hold accountable anyone who engages in corporate fraud,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez, Jr. “It also shows our ability to work with our law enforcement partners to quickly investigate and prosecute fraud schemes that arise from or seek to take advantage of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This sentence is the price Wold will pay for abusing his position of trust to create a stream of income he was not entitled to,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Andy Tsui. “IRS-CI will continue to use our investigative resources to hold accountable those who exploit others for their own financial benefit.”
Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye also ordered Wold to serve three years of supervised release following his prison sentence. A final order of restitution will be determined during a hearing to be held at a later date. Wold pleaded guilty to the charges on May 18, 2021.
Acting U.S. Attorney Gonzalez commended the cooperative efforts of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Malheur County’s Sheriff’s Office, Meridian Police Department, and Ada County Probation Office, which led to charges.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.