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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

West Michigan Man Sentenced To Prison In Scheme To Defraud Herman Miller Inc. Of $1.77 Million

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that Spring Lake resident Jerry Lee Akers, 54, was sentenced to serve 41 months in prison for his role in defrauding furniture manufacturer Herman Miller Inc. in a vendor invoicing scheme. The Honorable Paul L. Maloney, U.S. District Judge, imposed the sentence. In addition to the prison term, Akers was ordered to serve two years of supervised release; to pay $507,309.14 in restitution, and forfeited an additional $507,309.14 to the government.

          Akers pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. He admitted conspiring with Coopersville resident Kevin Grimm to devise and execute a scheme to defraud Herman Miller between June 2010 and July 2015 using Grimm’s company, KJ Gas Transportation, LLC. With Akers’s assistance on the inside of the company, Grimm submitted false and fraudulent invoices for payment for natural gas services he never provided. The fraud scheme generated $1,772,726 in payments to Grimm’s company.

          Co-conspirator Kevin Grimm was indicted by a grand jury in February 2017 for his role in the offense. On March 21, 2017, Grimm pled guilty to conspiring with Akers to defraud Herman Miller Inc. in the scheme. Grimm will be sentenced by Judge Maloney on July 10, 2017.

          Prior to Akers’s sentencing, Akers and Grimm collectively returned $1,265,417 of the illegal proceeds they obtained during the fraud. Akers’s sentence reflects, in part, the government’s recommendation that he receive a reduced sentence for his substantial assistance to law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of Grimm.

          "The FBI is committed to rooting out all fraud that endangers local businesses which make up the backbone of our American economy. We will continue to work with our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate fraudulent schemes and stop those who line their own pockets at the expense of others,” said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the FBI.

          This matter was investigated by the Grand Rapids office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher O’Connor.

END

Updated May 2, 2017