Former Wind Farm Manger Pleads Guilty in $550,000 Embezzlement Scheme
A San Angelo man pleaded guilty yesterday to his role in a $550,000 embezzlement scheme, announced Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah.
Arturo Salazar III, 41, a former site manager for a Vestas-American Wind Technologies wind farm, pleaded guilty Wednesday to four counts of unauthorized transactions with access devices.
According to court documents, Mr. Salazar admitted that he teamed up with Keith Krier, a conspirator, to create a sham business, BT Machine, with the sole purpose of creating fraudulent invoices. From 2016 to 2019, while Salazar worked as site manager for Vestas Wind, the conspirators presented hundreds of bogus invoices for services that BT Machine purportedly provided to Vestas.
Following payment of the invoices, Mr. Salazar the other individual would then split the money.
Mr. Salazar also used Vestas company credit cards to make unauthorized purchases totaling approximately $80,000. These personal purchases included a dump trailer, a skid steer loader, a universal terrain vehicle, and products from Amazon.
From 2016 to 2019, Mr. Salazar admitted to defrauding Vestas’ of more than $550,000.
Mr. Salazar now faces up to 60 years in federal prison. His sentencing will be set in late summer.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Howey is prosecuting the case.