Former Hickory Resident Sentenced to More Than Five Years in Prison for Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Offenses
|U. S. Attorney’s Office April 09, 2013|
STATESVILLE, NC—A former Hickory, North Carolina resident was sentenced to 65 months in prison on Monday, April 8, 2013, for wire fraud and money laundering offenses, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Voorhees also ordered Andrew Geiger, 48, of South Amboy, New Jersey, to serve two years of supervised release following his prison term.
John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), joins U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today’s announcement.
In March 2012, Geiger pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering for carrying out an eight-year scheme to defraud his employer, Bernhardt Furniture Company (“Bernhardt) of over $563,000. The stolen money represented a 41 percent increase in the legitimate compensation he received from Bernhardt in the same time period.
According to filed court documents and yesterday’s sentencing hearing, from approximately June 1996 until January 2008, Geiger was employed by Bernhardt as the director of Manufacturing, Casegoods-Bernhardt Contract Division. In that capacity, Bernhardt had the authority to negotiate and enter into contracts with third party manufacturers on behalf of Bernhardt. Court records show that in approximately December 1999, Geiger negotiated an agreement with a Canadian company for the manufacture of an office furniture line for Bernhardt and negotiated an agreement to pay the Canadian company a rate of 34 percent of the product’s list price.
Court documents indicate that shortly after thereafter, and unbeknownst to Bernhardt, Geiger created a company, Furniture Works International (“FWI”), and directed the Canadian manufacturer to ship the office furniture products to FWI. In reality, FWI was a sham entity that was owned and controlled by Geiger and utilized solely to advance his fraud scheme. Court records show that in fraudulent communications, Geiger told the Canadian manufacturer that the product would be sent to FWI so it could be “re-packaged.” According to filed documents, Geiger falsely advised the Canadian company that Bernhardt had authorized an increase in its payment from 34 to 39 percent, with the additional difference being paid to FWI and then later funneled to Geiger. To further his scheme, Geiger caused the Canadian company to receive bogus correspondence from FWI asserting, among other things, Bernhardt approved FWI’s involvement in the transaction and that Bernhardt approved the payment of FWI’s fee to be paid from the proceeds of the Bernhardt’s payment to the Canadian company. Moreover, beginning in approximately October 2006, Geiger directed all shipments directly to Bernhardt’s factory in Lenoir, but he still collected the bogus fees through FWI. Geiger’s fraud scheme was discovered by Bernhardt when he left the company for another position in the furniture industry, court records show.
In pronouncing the sentence, Judge Voorhees noted the “very egregious nature of the offense” and ordered Geiger to pay restitution to his Bernhardt in the amount of $563,164.
Geiger was ordered to self-report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The investigation was handled by the FBI and IRS. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark T. Odulio and Maria K. Vento, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.