Oklahoma Man Arrested And Charged With Stealing More Than $2.8 Million In Textbooks From Former Employer
NEWARK, N.J. – An Oklahoma man who was previously employed as a textbook salesman at Hoboken-based John Wiley & Sons will appear in court today on charges he stole more than $2.8 million in textbooks from his former employer through an elaborate scheme that involved diverting free educational samples intended for professors, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Christopher J. Brock, 44, of Yukon, Okla., was arrested in Tampa, Fla., today by FBI special agents on a criminal Complaint charging him with wire fraud. The defendant is scheduled to have his initial appearance and bail hearing this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli in Tampa, Fla., federal court.
According to the Complaint unsealed today in Newark federal court:
Christopher J. Brock executed a scheme to defraud his former employer, John Wiley & Sons (Wiley), out of more than $2.8 million worth of textbooks.
Wiley is based in Hoboken, N.J., and is one of the largest publishers of technical writing in the world, with an estimated market value of approximately $3 billion. A portion of Wiley’s publications are collegiate textbooks, which are distributed to schools and universities that accept them into their curricula. Co-existing with Wiley’s retailers are resellers of used or unwanted books that buy and sell directly to students.
Brock lived in Oklahoma and was employed by Wiley, first as a higher education publishing representative, and most recently as a district sales supervisor based in Oklahoma.
Brock accessed the corporate systems of Wiley – including computers located in New Jersey – and diverted to himself more than 16,000 textbooks and other items he fraudulently designated as free educational samples.
To avoid detection in an internal review of his employee records, Brock designated both actual and fabricated professors as the purported recipients of the items and listed his own home address and other addresses that he controlled as alternate shipping addresses for those professors, directing that the books be shipped to those addresses. This made it appear in the records of Wiley that the free education samples were legitimately going to professors when, in reality, they were being sent to Brock.
Once Brock received the diverted textbooks he sold them to resellers and received payment through PayPal accounts that he controlled. PayPal, in turn, would deposit the funds into bank accounts that Brock controlled. Brock caused an approximate loss to Wiley of more than $2.8 million. The money that Brock earned as a result of the scheme was largely used for personal expenditures, including, among other things, high-end home furnishings and scuba diving equipment.
The wire fraud count with which Brock is charged carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss from the offense.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, for the investigation. U.S. Attorney Fishman also thanked John Wiley & Sons for its cooperation and assistance with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel V. Shapiro of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.