Former Utz Quality Foods Employee & Vendor Charged With $1.4 Million False Invoice Kickback Scheme
HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a former employee of Utz Quality Foods, Inc., Hanover, Pennsylvania and a former Utz vendor have been charged with a false invoice kickback scheme that defrauded Utz out of approximately $1.4 million.
Kevin Myers, age 38, a former resident of Abbottstown, Pennsylvania, and the former Director of Purchasing for Utz, and Jonathan Haas, age 45 of Easton, Pennsylvania, the former owner of Haas Packaging and Design, Inc. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, were each charged today in a Criminal Information filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg.
The government also filed plea agreements with the defendants which are subject to the approval of the court.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Haas Packaging & Design was a vendor that supplied Utz with shelving and packaging products between January 2010 and August 2014. The defendants allegedly defrauded Utz by Haas’ submission of approximately 83 false invoices and approximately 43 bogus purchase orders prepared by Myers for products Utz never actually received. After Myers approved Haas’ false invoices for payment, Haas allegedly would kickback a portion of the proceeds to Myers. Haas allegedly received approximately $1,474,765 from Utz as a result of the false invoices and kicked back approximately $651,000 of that amount to Myers.
The defendants also allegedly attempted to conceal kickbacks to Myers as payments for consulting services. Some of the kickbacks were in the form of checks payable to “Myers Packaging Consulting,” a fictional business entity created by Myers.
The specific wire fraud charge relates to an alleged interstate wire transmission of a $26,000 check into a Myers Packaging Consulting bank account in January 2014. The government is also seeking forfeiture of approximately $1.4 million as proceeds of the scheme.
The case was investigated by the Harrisburg Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Utz Quality Foods, Inc. cooperated with the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kim Douglas Daniel.
Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The maximum penalty under federal law is 20 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.
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