Gregory Harriman Sentenced to 30 Months for Embezzling Funds from Employer in Bennington, VT; Brother-in-law Sentenced for Obstruction of Justice
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Gregory Harriman, 52, formerly of Bennington, Vermont, was sentenced on December 19, 2016 to thirty months of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release for his role in defrauding and embezzling funds from NSK Steering Systems America, one of the largest employers in Bennington, where Harriman previously served as the plant manager. In addition, District Judge William K. Sessions, III ordered Harriman to pay $386,850 in restitution.
In a related case, on December 12, 2016, Judge Sessions sentenced Stephen Savage, the brother-in-law of Harriman, to serve a term of probation for 12 months and pay a fine of $15,000 for obstructing justice in connection with Harriman’s fraud.
Gregory Harriman’s Fraud at NSK
The government’s investigation in this case revealed that from 2007 through 2011, Harriman orchestrated and implemented a scheme to obtain money from NSK by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, whereby Harriman caused NSK to pay invoices that were false and Harriman had significant sums of the money paid on those invoices redirected to benefit himself.
As part of the scheme, Harriman set up Frontier Automation with James Waters and directed NSK work to Frontier Automation starting in 2007 and continuing through 2011. Harriman concealed from NSK his control of, and interest in, Frontier Automation. Harriman assisted Waters in preparing false quotes and invoices sent from Frontier Automation to NSK, Harriman took multiple steps to assist Waters in concealing this fraud, and Harriman later manufactured documents to try concealing the fraud.
At NSK, Harriman approved or directed others at NSK to approve the false invoices for payment, despite knowing that Frontier Automation had not performed the work listed on the invoices. During the course of the scheme, NSK paid Frontier Automation hundreds of thousands of dollars on false invoices, which Waters largely redirected to Harriman. Waters was also charged and has pleaded guilty to participating in this scheme to defraud NSK. His sentencing is scheduled for January 17, 2017.
In a separate transaction, Harriman also convinced the owner of Red C Parts, an engineering company out of New York, to provide NSK an invoice for work that Red C Parts did not perform. Harriman controlled the deal on behalf of NSK and approved the invoice for payment. Harriman also had substantial portions of the funds paid by NSK for this invoice redirected to benefit himself.
Harriman left NSK in 2011 and NSK soon discovered questionable transactions, which led to the government’s investigation and subsequent prosecution.
Stephen Savage’s Obstruction of Justice
In addition to Harriman’s scheme to embezzle funds from NSK through fraudulent transactions with Frontier Automation and Red C Parts, the government also investigated certain questionable transactions between NSK and Freedom Engineering, a company run by Stephen Savage, the brother-in-law of Harriman. Starting in 2008, Harriman also began directing some NSK business to Freedom Engineering.
In response to grand jury subpoenas seeking information from Stephen Savage about these transactions, Savage produced certain business records in 2014 that the government’s investigation later established were false and fraudulent. When questioned by government agents about these questionable transactions, Savage also made multiple false statements to law enforcement about Harriman and related issues.
Savage was subsequently charged with obstruction of justice based on his production of false documents in response to grand jury subpoenas and his knowing misstatements designed to mislead law enforcement in its ongoing investigation into Harriman.
Savage pled guilty to obstruction of justice, and on December 12, 2016, Judge Sessions sentenced Savage to serve a term of probation for 12 months and pay a fine of $15,000.
The cases against Harriman and Savage were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Paul Van de Graaf and Kunal Pasricha. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was the lead federal agency investigating these crimes. Harriman was represented by attorney Thomas Sherrer and Savage was represented by attorney Ian Carleton.