In another example illustrating just how prevalent the threat of wire fraud is to manufacturing companies, a newly-reported case in Ohio involved a former Verizon employee duping a major industrial distributor out of nearly $1 million in fraudulent purchases.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio reported February 2nd that a 44-year-old Newark, Ohio man was been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly causing about $1 million in fraud while he was a network engineer at Verizon.
A 16-count indictment said that from July to October 2020, the man used his company credit card to pay for personal expenses like hotels & resorts, restaurants, bars, pawn shops and auction houses.
He also apparently used an old Verizon work order number to place dozens of fraudulent orders at MRO products giant W.W. Grainger — North America’s largest industrial distributor — which provides tools and equipment for Verizon service vans.
The man allegedly placed 46 unauthorized orders to Grainger and personally picked up most of the equipment purchases, which totaled about $936,000. He then allegedly used the proceeds to buy two boats and a motorcycle.
Court documents show that after that, the man placed another 20 unauthorized orders to Grainger that totaled nearly $954,000, but never obtained the equipment.
The Attorney’s office says the man allegedly caused $24,000 in loss to Verizon, and more than $936,000 in loss to Grainger.
But it gets even better. When he was arrested this past August, the man was allegedly carrying an illegally-possessed pistol after he was previously convicted of a felony crime.
Besides the gun charge, he is charged with 10 counts of wire fraud and five counts of access device fraud.