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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Butler Man Sentenced to Six Years In Prison In Connection With Theft Of Approximately $1.5 Million From Former Employer

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A resident of Butler, Pennsylvania, was sentenced in federal court following his earlier guilty plea to one count of wire fraud, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

United States District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan sentenced Paul Harmon, 64, to six years of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release.

During his plea hearing on January 26, 2021, 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 his sentence, Harmon also must pay restitution to Fuellgraf in the amount of $1,466,456.71.

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

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated August 4, 2021