U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Minnesota
(612) 664-5600
December 3, 2014

Lakeville Food Packaging Plant Employee Indicted for Conspiring to Defraud Company for More Than $1.8 Million

United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the indictment of CHARLES MICHAEL COLES, 43, and others, for conspiring to defraud an Illinois-based food packaging and processing company for more than $1.8 million.1 COLES was employed as a buyer/inventory coordinator for the Illinois-based company, and was responsible for maintaining the parts inventory of a food packaging plant located in Lakeville, Minn. The defendants are expected to make initial appearances on December 15, 2014, in U.S. District Court in Saint Paul, Minn.

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, from at least 2011 until November 14, 2014, COLES was responsible for ordering parts, submitting purchase orders, receiving shipments of parts, and maintaining the parts inventory at the Lakeville, Minn., plant of a food packaging and processing company. COLES devised a scheme to defraud his employer by submitting false invoices for industrial supplies and parts purportedly supplied by several fictitious industrial supply companies.

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, COLES conspired with and recruited his co-conspirators, STEVE CROOK, AARON ASH, DARREN GARDNER, JACQUELINE ROBINSON, and WILLIAM DAMPIER, to create fictitious industrial supply companies. COLES then submitted fraudulent purchase orders and invoices to his employer from each of his co-conspirators’ fictitious companies. After COLES’ employer paid the fraudulent invoices, each co-conspirator split the proceeds with COLES.

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, between April 2011 and October 2014, CROOK owned a fictitious company called Karlvelous Supply. The only address for Karlvelous Supply was a rented mailbox inside a UPS Store in White Bear Lake, Minn. COLES and CROOK caused approximately $582,224 to be paid to Karlvelous Supply on the basis of false and fraudulent invoices submitted by COLES, and COLES and CROOK split the proceeds of these fraudulent payments.

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, between October 2011 and October 2014, ASH owned a fictitious company called Rubber-Steel Products, LLC. The only address for Rubber-Steel Products, LLC, was a rented mailbox inside a UPS Store in Brooklyn Center, Minn. COLES and ASH caused approximately $512,218 to be paid to Rubber-Steel Products on the basis of false and fraudulent invoices submitted by COLES, and COLES and ASH split the proceeds of these fraudulent payments.

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, between January 2012 and October 2014, GARDNER owned a fictitious company called DG Automation Controls, LLC. The only address for DG Automation Controls, LLC, was a rented mailbox inside a UPS Store in Eden Prairie, Minn. COLES and GARDNER caused approximately $409,191 to be paid to DG Automation Controls on the basis of false and fraudulent invoices submitted by COLES, and COLES and GARDNER split the proceeds of these fraudulent payments.

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, between January 2013 and November 2014, ROBINSON owned a fictitious company called Tessman Industrial Supply, LLC. The only address for Tessman Industrial Supply, LLC, was a rented mailbox inside a UPS Store in Saint Paul, Minn. COLES and ROBINSON caused approximately $253,881 to be paid to Tessman Industrial Supply on the basis of false and fraudulent invoices submitted by COLES, and COLES and ROBINSON split the proceeds of these fraudulent payments.

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, between June 2014 and November 2014, DAMPIER owned a fictitious company called A-Z Industrial Supply Co., LLC. The only address for A-Z Industrial Supply Co., LLC., was DAMPIER’S home address in Phoenix, Ariz. COLES and DAMPIER caused approximately $47,666 to be paid to A-Z Industrial Supply Co., on the basis of false and fraudulent invoices submitted by COLES, and COLES and DAMPIER split the proceeds of these fraudulent payments.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigations, and the Lakeville Police Department.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Thompson.

Defendant Information:

CHARLES MICHAEL COLES, 43, Otsego, Minn.

Charges:

  • Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, 1 count
  • Mail Fraud, 5 counts

STEVE KARLVELOUS CROOK, 43, Maplewood, Minn.

Charges:

  • Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, 1 count
  • Mail Fraud, 1 count

AARON ARTHUR ASH, 42, Minneapolis, Minn.

Charges:

  • Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, 1 count
  • Mail Fraud, 1 count

DARREN LAMONT GARDNER, 42, Unknown

Charges:

  • Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, 1 count
  • Mail Fraud, 1 count

JACQUELINE ROBINSON, 46, Saint Paul, Minn.

Charges:

  • Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, 1 count
  • Mail Fraud, 1 count

WILLIAM CURTIS DAMPIER, 32, Phoenix, Ariz.

Charges:

  • Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, 1 count
  • Mail Fraud, 1 count

1The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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