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Justice News

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

Friday, February 13, 2015

Former Smucker Employee Sentenced to Nearly Five Years in Prison for Stealing $4.1 Million from the Company

A former employee was was sentenced to nearly five years in prison for a 16-year scheme to defraud J.M. Smucker Company, of Orville, Ohio, of more than $4.1 million, said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Office.

Mark R. Kershey, age 54, of Akron and formerly of Massillon, was sentenced to 58 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Donald C. Nugent. The judge also ordered Kershey to pay more than $4.1 million in restitution to Smucker and its insurance company and to forfeit two airplanes and four automobiles.

Kershey was employed as Smucker’s chief airplane mechanic at the Akron-Canton airport when, from approximately October 1997 through January 2013, he devised a false billing scheme using a fictitious entity he controlled, under the name of Aircraft Parts Services, Co., according to court documents.

Kershey submitted false invoices to Smucker in the name of Aircraft Parts Services, which in all or nearly all instances were for nonexistent parts and/or for purported outside services that he actually performed as part of his salaried employment duties. Kershey submitted most invoices in amounts less than $10,000, which he was authorized to approve. A supervisor approved a few larger invoices based on his trust in Kershey, according to court documents.

Kershey maintained a P.O. Box under the fake company name in Greentown, Ohio, to receive checks mailed by Smucker in reliance on the fraudulent invoices. Kershey used the proceeds of his scheme for personal uses, including the purchase and maintenance of two airplanes, the purchase of several automobiles, and payments for his personal residence, according to court documents.

Court documents describe Kershey’s efforts in late 2012 to deceive Smucker with respect to the final three checks payable to Aircraft Parts Services totaling $44,000, which Kershey had failed to negotiate. Kershey told the employee that Aircraft Parts Services had been sold to another Smucker vendor (referred to in the information as SAI), and submitted a letter to Smucker purportedly from SAI’s owner, that Kershey fabricated and forged, falsely confirming the purported sale to SAI. Smucker then issued replacement checks to SAI, that SAI deposited after discussion between Kershey and SAI’s owner.

Kershey previously pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud.

The case is being handled by Special Assistant United States Attorney John M. Siegel following investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Canton, Ohio.

Updated March 17, 2015