Former Utz Quality Foods Vendor Pleads Guilty To $1.4 Million False Invoice & Kickback Scheme
HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that the owner/operator of a former Utz Quality Foods, Inc. supplier has pleaded guilty to charges that he defrauded Utz out of approximately $1.4 million.
Jonathan Haas, age 45, of Easton, Pennsylvania, the former owner of Haas Packaging and Design, Inc. in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty today before United States Magistrate Judge Susan E. Schwab in Harrisburg to wire fraud.
Haas and Kevin Myers, age 38, formerly of Abbottstown, PA, and the former Director of Purchasing for Utz, were charged in June of this year with the one count wire fraud Information. The Information was filed against Myers and Haas pursuant to plea agreements they executed with the government. Myers entered his guilty plea to the wire fraud count before Magistrate Judge Schwab on Tuesday.
Between 2007 and 2014 Haas Packaging & Design supplied Utz with shelving and packaging products. During the guilty plea proceeding Haas admitted he and Myers defrauded Utz between 2010 and 2014 by Myers’ preparation of bogus purchase orders and Haas’ submission of false invoices against the phony purchase orders for packaging product Utz never received. After Myers approved Haas’ false invoices for payment, Haas would kick back a portion of Utz’s payment to Myers.
The Information alleges Haas received approximately $1,474,765 from Utz and from that amount Haas paid Myers approximately $651,000. Haas’ plea agreement requires the court to determine the actual loss amount and the amount of restitution to be paid Utz.
Haas also admitted he and Myers attempted to conceal some of the kickbacks Haas paid Myers as payments for fictional consulting services. To facilitate the ruse Myers opened up a bank account under the name of “Myers Packaging Consulting,” a non-existent, paper entity.
The specific wire fraud charge relates to an alleged interstate wire transmission of a $26,000 Haas check into a Myers Packaging Consulting bank account in January 2014.
The government is seeking forfeiture of approximately $1.4 million from the defendants as illegal 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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