Charlotte-Area Appliance Repairman Pleads Guilty To $576,000 Fraudulent Warranty Claim Scheme, Filing False Tax Return
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The owner and operator of Charlotte-area appliance repair companies pleaded guilty today to wire fraud and filing a false tax return, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. John Wesley Clark, 42, of Charlotte, N.C., appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer and admitted to submitting false and fraudulent warranty work order claims to an electronics company and to filing a false income tax return.
Thomas J. Holloman, III, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) and Thomas L. Noyes, Inspector in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service join Acting U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.
According to the filed court documents and today’s plea hearing, beginning in at least 2010 and continuing through 2012, Clark, also known as John Isaacs, Jonathan Fitzgerald, and JA Adams, engaged in a scheme to defraud a major electronics company based in New Jersey by submitting false and fraudulent warranty work order claims, resulting in payments of $576,000 for warranty work that was not performed. Clark was the owner and operator of various Charlotte area appliance repair companies, including JA Appliance Co; Fitzgerald Appliance Co; BR Appliance; C&A Appliance Co.; D&L Appliance Co.; and J&S Appliance Co. Court records indicate that Clark, sometimes using an alias, established his companies as authorized service centers for the major electronics company. He then submitted fraudulent warranty work orders that listed, among other things, false customer information, false addresses, false part numbers, and false repair dates.
For tax years 2010 through 2012, Clark failed to report all of the income he obtained through the fraudulent warranty claims on his federal tax returns. Additionally, Clark filed fraudulent forms W-2 with his federal tax returns that falsely stated that tax withholding had been paid over to the IRS.
Clark pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The filing a false tax return charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. As part of today’s plea agreement, Clark has agreed to pay restitution, the amount of which will be determined by the Court at Clark’s sentencing hearing, which has not been scheduled yet. Clark was released on bond following his plea hearing.
The investigation of the case was handled by IRS-CI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jenny G. Sugar of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.