Four Guilty in Conspiracy to Defraud Lowe’s
NASHVILLE, TN—Four Kentucky residents pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to defraud Lowe’s Companies, Inc., announced David Rivera, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. Joe Fuqua, 38, Michael Gregory, 39, and Charles Ragar, 49, all of Franklin, KY, and Robert Trammel, 40, of Bowling Green, KY, each pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud in hearings before Judge Todd J. Campbell of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
At their hearings, each of the four defendants admitted taking part in a conspiracy to establish Lowe’s credit accounts, bounce checks to the accounts, and thereafter purchase merchandise from Lowe’s retail stores using the fraudulent accounts. Each defendant also admitted to selling a portion of the merchandise obtained fraudulently from Lowe’s to a co-conspirator in exchange for a percentage of the actual retail value of the merchandise. Altogether, members of the conspiracy made fraudulent purchases exceeding $191,000 at 14 Lowe’s stores across Tennessee and Kentucky.
On April 16, 2014, a federal grand jury sitting in the Middle District of Tennessee indicted Fuqua, Gregory, Ragar, Trammel, along with four others, in connection with the scheme to defraud Lowe’s. They will be sentenced by Judge Campbell on October 17, 2014. Each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Joseph Marty Jones, 46, of Franklin, KY, Ronnie Shubin, 30, of Springfield, TN, and Kevin Pierce, 28, of Castalian Springs, TN, were also indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, while John Brown, 24, of Russellville, KY was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud. These defendants are awaiting trial.
An indictment is merely an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. Those defendants who have not pleaded guilty are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Springfield, Tennessee Police Department. The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney William F. Abely.