Former lumber executive pleads guilty for embezzling over $800,000
Defendant executed the fraud by writing checks to a fictitious vendor
BECKLEY, W.Va. – A former Chief Financial Officer for a Beckley lumber company who embezzled over $800,000 pleaded guilty yesterday, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. James Matthew Miller, 42, entered his guilty plea to two counts of wire fraud.
Miller formerly worked as an executive for a lumber company until September 2013. In his role as Chief Financial Officer, his responsibilities included oversight of log inventories from vendors. From approximately December 31, 2007, to August 30, 2013, Miller admitted that he issued payments to a sham vendor, a close friend of Miller’s, and falsely inflated log inventories to conceal the fraud. He created a fictitious log vendor that has never hauled or delivered logs to the lumber company. Miller also admitted that he created false payment requests and then drafted and signed checks from the lumber company to the fake vendor. The vendor cashed the checks or deposited the checks in his bank account, then provided Miller with the money, minus a small amount Miller permitted the vendor to keep. During the course of the fraud, Miller was responsible for 160 checks totaling $822,396.63 from the company to the sham vendor. Miller admitted that he concealed the fraud and committed wire fraud by submitting company reports based on artificially inflated log inventories, and then emailed the reports to a lumber mill manager in Tennessee and a BB&T in Georgia.
Miller faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count when he is sentenced on March 15, 2018.
The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald is in charge of the prosecution. United States District Judge Irene C. Berger presided over the plea hearing.
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