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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 28, 2020

Former oil executive admits role in false payroll scheme

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 40-year-old Houston man has entered a guilty plea in Corpus Christi federal court to money laundering through wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Mohamad Sylla admitted he conspired with Jose Luis Briseno, 41, Tynan, and David Contreras, 42, Paso Robles, California, to get a Houston oil production company to issue paychecks for work Contreras never completed and while he was not even employed there.

From Jan. 1 to Sept. 11, 2015, Briseno and Sylla were employed at the company as the service coordinator and South Texas region manager, respectively. The two men conspired to approve timesheets for Contreras even though he was no  longer employed there. Briseno and Sylla ensured the timesheets were approved and payments issued. Once Contreras received the funds, he would split the paycheck with Briseno and Sylla.

As a result, Contreras, Briseno and Sylla falsely obtained funds totaling approximately $40,383.91.

Briseno and Contreras have also pleaded for their roles in the scheme.

U.S. District Judge David Morales will impose Sylla’s sentencing Aug. 31. At that time, Sylla faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $500,000 maximum fine.

He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.

The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy C. Fugate is prosecuting the case. 

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated May 28, 2020