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Press Release

Butler Man Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud in Connection with Theft of Approximately $1.5 Million from Former Employer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A resident of Butler, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of wire fraud related to his theft of corporate funds from his former employer, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Paul Harmon, 63, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Nicholas Ranjan.

During his plea hearing, Harmon admitted that for over 40 years he was the corporate controller for Butler-based Fuellgraf Electric Company, and an affiliated company, Technical Management Associates (collectively, "Fuellgraf"), which supplied electricians and related services to a variety of industrial and commercial business customers located primarily in Pennsylvania and Florida. As controller, Harmon admitted that he exercised day-to-day responsibility for and control over Fuellgraf’s finance, accounting, and treasury functions. He also maintained check-writing authority for Fuellgraf’s business bank accounts and control of Fuellgraf’s internal books and records.

Between at least October 2009 and his termination in December 2018, Harmon admitted that he misappropriated approximately $1.5 million in Fuellgraf funds and concealed his theft through manipulation of Fuellgraf’s books and records. As part of Harmon’s scheme to defraud Fuellgraf, he admitted stealing funds in a variety of ways, including by: causing the company to issue over $470,000 in duplicate or inflated payroll disbursements to Harmon, initiating electronic payments toward his personal credit card balances totaling approximately $500,000, issuing approximately $10,000 in corporate checks to pay his personal credit card balances, issuing almost $80,000 in corporate checks to himself, and misappropriating $200,000 in corporate checks written to cash. In addition, Harmon admitted that he issued Fuellgraf corporate checks to an entity he controlled, PM Accounting, totaling more than $200,000, for purported accounting work performed on behalf of Fuellgraf, when, in fact, no such work occurred. Harmon concealed his misappropriation by creating hundreds of false entries in Fuellgraf’s books and records that masked the true nature and purpose of the expenditures.

As part of a written plea agreement, Harmon agreed to make restitution to Fuellgraf in the amount of $1,466,456.71.

Harmon faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of not more than the greater of (i) $250,000 or (ii) an alternative fine in an amount not more than the greater of twice the gross pecuniary gain to any person or twice the pecuniary loss to any person. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government. The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the charge in this case.

Updated January 27, 2021

Financial Fraud