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Press Release

Rhode Island Man Pleads Guilty to Million Dollar Embezzlement Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Rhode Island man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with a scheme to embezzle over a million dollars from a Massachusetts company.  

Michael H. Tran, 35, of Woonsocket, R.I., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud. In September 2018, Tran was charged by indictment and arrested. U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton scheduled sentencing for Nov. 5, 2019.

Tran and co-conspirator Darren Cormier, who worked as a product manager for a Bellingham, Mass., manufacturing company, worked together to embezzle millions of dollars from the company. From December 2013 to May 2016, Cormier told the company owners that he was purchasing equipment for the company using his PayPal account, which was linked to the company’s credit cards. Instead of making legitimate equipment purchases, however, Cormier used his PayPal account to pay Tran, who withdrew the money in cash and used it to pay for personal expenses. Tran and Cormier concealed the fraud by adjusting the names settings in Tran’s PayPal account to make it appear on account statements as if the payments were submitted to legitimate vendors. Tran and Cormier also submitted fraudulent invoices and purchase orders to the company in the name of some non-existent vendors, such as “A Plug Tool Supply,” and “MHT Industrial.”

Cormier was charged separately for his role in the conspiracy and wire fraud scheme and pleaded guilty in March 2019. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 18, 2019, before U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns.

The charging statute for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Kristina O'Connell, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigations in Boston made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordi de Llano, Deputy Chief of Lelling’s Securities and Financial Fraud Unit, is prosecuting the case.

Updated August 12, 2019

Financial Fraud