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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Irondale Man Charged with Identity Theft for Using Signature Stamp to Embezzle

BIRMINGHAM – Federal prosecutors last week charged an Irondale man with identity theft in connection to nearly $400,000 embezzled from the company where he worked, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey and FBI Special Agent in Charge Roger C. Stanton.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a one-count information in U.S. District Court charging JOHN D. PILKINGTON III, 39, with one count of identity theft for using another person’s identification, via a rubber signature stamp, to steal property between January 2010 and July 2016.

In conjunction with the charge, prosecutors also filed a plea agreement with Pilkington. As part of the plea agreement, Pilkington promises to pay $397,016 in restitution to Cain Awning of Birmingham.

Pilkington worked at Cain Awning from January 2002 to July 2016. His job included preparing the weekly payroll, ordering materials and negotiating contracts with general contractors, as well as managing invoices and collections, which gave him access to the company’s books and accounts, according to the plea agreement. Pilkington also had access to a rubber stamp bearing the signature of the company’s owner and president.

According to Pilkington’s plea agreement, he carried out his identity theft and embezzlement as follows:

Between January 2010 and July 2016, Pilkington prepared more than 200 unauthorized company checks totaling about $293,410 and made payable to himself or to cash. He used the company owner’s signature stamp to sign the checks.

During the same period, Pilkington embezzled about $25,576 by signing his own name to Cain Awning checks, obtaining cashier’s checks with company funds and using company credit cards for personal purchases and benefits.

Cain Awning used outside vendors to process its payroll, and Pilkington caused the vendors to inflate his wages and compensation by about $75,042. The company paid an additional $5,288 in payroll taxes on the wrongly inflated pay.

The total estimated loss to Cain Awning because of Pilkington’s conduct was $399,316. His restitution amount is $397,016 because of $1,200 and some property he previously returned to the company.

The maximum penalty for identity theft is 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The FBI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry Cornelius is prosecuting.

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Updated May 3, 2017