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Press Release

Former employee of an online used car retailer indicted for wire fraud for more than $2 million embezzlement scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Defendant disguised deposits to accounts he controlled as transfers related to car sales

Seattle – A 40-year-old California man, who previously resided in Tacoma, Washington was indicted this week by a federal grand jury on five counts of wire fraud for his scheme to steal more than $2 million from his employer, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. John Whisenant was arrested on a criminal complaint last month. He will be arraigned on the indictment at a future court date.

According to records filed in the case, Whisenant worked in a variety of roles at the online used car sales company beginning in October 2018. About a year after he began with the company, Whisenant was promoted into a role where he had access to the company bank accounts and accounting software.

Beginning in about June 2019 and continuing until November 2021, Whisenant used his access to make 57 wire transfers totaling over $2 million into accounts he controlled. Whisenant disguised the transfers as legitimate business expenses in the company’s accounting software with a variety of false entries. The indictment charges five of the transfers as representative counts but asks for forfeiture of the entire $2 million+ loss.

According to the criminal complaint filed earlier this month, Whisenant used the money for a lavish lifestyle. He bought luxury automobiles such Porches and Mercedes. He spent $123,096 for a 2022 Audi E-Tron and bought a $98,100 Tesla. He rented luxury homes in Southern California and purchased two airline tickets to Paris at a cost of nearly $23,000 each.

The fraud on the company accounts was discovered when a bookkeeper began a more comprehensive review of the company’s financials in January 2022. Whisenant resigned abruptly in February 2022.

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sean Waite.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated August 24, 2023

Financial Fraud