Pennsylvania Woman Charged with Millions of Dollars in Fraudulent Sales of Telecom Equipment
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 05, 2013|
NEWARK, NJ—A Pennsylvania woman was indicted by a federal grand jury today for her role in a long-running, large-scale scheme involving the fraudulent sale of telecommunications equipment belonging to a company she worked for as a consultant, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Juanita L. Berry, 45, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was charged in an indictment with three counts of wire fraud that allegedly caused losses of at least $3.5 million.
According to the indictment and other documents filed in this case:
From 2008 to 2011, Berry worked as a consultant for an Indiana company that installed and removed telecommunications systems, first as a sales representative and later as the company’s vice president for major accounts. Initially, Berry worked out of the company’s Levittown, Pennsylvania facility and, later, out of its Dayton, New Jersey facility. The “brains” of the telecommunications systems the company installed and removed were the electronic circuit boards of varying complexity that range in price between several hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.
Berry owned a company named J. Starr Communications Inc. (J. Starr), through which she arranged her consulting agreement and allegedly operated her fraudulent scheme.
Without the knowledge or authorization of the telecommunications company’s management, Berry sold both used cards and new cards with other telecommunications equipment owned by the company as though such equipment belonged to her or J. Starr. She then pocketed the proceeds from such fraudulent sales. Berry deceived employees at the Levittown and Dayton facilities into thinking that the shipments of used cards were part of the telecommunications company’s normal course of business.
Berry allegedly deceived the company’s management in Indiana and other company employees on site about her activities by altering internal project reports and blaming others for the missing cards. Berry deceived a company in Florida that purchased the equipment into thinking that she or her company J. Starr had title to that equipment. Between 2008 and 2011, the Florida company that purchased the cards from Berry or J. Starr wired in excess of $3.5 million in payment to J. Starr’s bank account.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, for the investigation leading to today’s charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bohdan Vitvitsky of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crime Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.