Former Charlotte Business Owner Sentenced To Prison On Embezzlement Charges
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On Friday, March 3, 2017, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. sentenced a former Charlotte business owner to 12 months and a day in prison on embezzlement charges, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Cameron Garrison, 37, was also ordered to serve two years under court supervision and to pay $116,245.19 as restitution.
Isabel Colon, Regional Director of Employee Benefits Security Administration’s Atlanta Regional Office of U.S. Department of Labor and John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in North Carolina join U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.
According to court documents and information introduced at the sentencing hearing, from in or about 2008 through in or about 2010, Garrison failed to remit, and converted for his own use, employee contributions which were supposed to be remitted to the Garrison Enterprises 401(k) profit sharing plan. In total, Garrison failed to remit, and converted for his own use, approximately $95,000 in employee contributions to the plan. According to court records, Garrison founded Garrison Enterprises, Inc. (Garrison Enterprises) in 1999 and served as its Chief Executive Officer until his termination in 2010. Garrison Enterprises focused its business on developing web-based applications for data management. The company was administratively dissolved in January 2015, court records show.
According to filed court documents, in or about 2006, Garrison Enterprises established the Garrison Enterprises 401(k) profit sharing plan (the Plan). Garrison was named and served as the trustee of the Plan, with authority to direct the investment of the Plan's assets for the sole benefit of the Plan's participants and beneficiaries. The Plan permitted participants to contribute a portion of their pay to the Plan through payroll deductions, and to take loans out of their account balances in the Plan in certain circumstances and then repay those loans through payroll reductions, collectively referenced to as "employee contributions."
According to court records, from in or about 2008 through in or about 2010, Garrison converted for his own use employee contributions which were supposed to be remitted to the Plan. Court records indicate that after the money was deducted from the employees’ paychecks, instead of remitting the money to the Plan, Garrison maintained the employees’ monies in the general assets of the corporate bank account and then transferred those monies into his personal account. Garrison made those transfers in the form of payroll, car allowances, and loan repayments. In addition, court records show that Garrison withdrew cash and made payments for personal expenses directly from the corporate accounts. According to court records, from in or about 2008 through in or about 2010, Garrison fraudulently failed to remit to the Plan and converted for his own use approximately $95,000 in employee contributions that were due to 21 different recipients, resulting in a loss of between $95,000 and $150,000.
“Theft of employee benefit assets jeopardizes the benefits of workers. This case reaffirms the U.S. Department of Labor’s commitment to protect workers’ benefits by identifying criminal activity wherever and whenever it occurs,” said Isabel Colon, Regional Director of Employee Benefits Security Administration’s Atlanta Regional Office.
Garrison pleaded guilty in September 2016 to one count of embezzlement from employee 401(k). He will be ordered to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The investigation was led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Vento, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.