Lafayette business owner pleads guilty to stealing nearly $300,000 from three finance companies
LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that Leonard Espree, 55, formerly of Lafayette, pleaded guilty yesterday before Chief U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. for stealing nearly $300,000 from three finance companies.
According to the guilty plea, Espree was the owner and operator of Ameritek Office Solutions in Lafayette, which sold and serviced office equipment. Espree submitted false documentation in the names of existing local businesses to three finance companies in 2015 and 2016 to obtain payment for office equipment supposedly supplied to these businesses. The three companies approved eight of the transactions for which Espree received a total of $294,292.12. However, Espree never sold or delivered equipment to any of the businesses.
Espree faces up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a $1 million fine for one count of wire fraud. The court set a July 10, 2019 sentencing date.
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Ayo is prosecuting the case.