Oklahoma Man Sentenced to One Year in Prison for Stealing $2.8 Million in Textbooks
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 06, 2014|
NEWARK, NJ—An Oklahoma man previously employed as a textbook salesman for a New Jersey-based publisher was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison for stealing more than $2.8 million dollars in textbooks from his former employer through an elaborate scheme that involved diverting free educational samples intended for professors, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Christopher J. Brock, 45, of Yukon, Oklahoma, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh to wire fraud. Judge Cavanaugh imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Brock executed a scheme to defraud his former employer, John Wiley & Sons (Wiley), of more than $2.8 million worth of textbooks, which he then resold for approximately $450,000. Wiley is based in Hoboken, New Jersey, and is one of the largest publishers of technical writing in the world, with an estimated market value of approximately $3 billion. A portion of Wiley’s publications are collegiate textbooks, which are distributed to schools and universities.
Brock lived in Oklahoma and was employed by Wiley, first as a higher education publishing representative and most recently as a district sales supervisor based in Oklahoma. Brock accessed the corporate systems of Wiley—including computers located in New Jersey—and diverted to himself more than 16,000 textbooks and other items he fraudulently designated as free educational samples.
To avoid detection in a review of his employee records within the internal order system, Brock designated both actual and fabricated professors as the purported recipients of the items, and then Brock listed his own home address and other addresses that he controlled as alternate shipping addresses for those professors and directed that the books be shipped to those alternate addresses. This made it appear in the records of Wiley that the free education samples were legitimately going to professors when, in reality, they were being sent to Brock.
Once Brock received the diverted textbooks he sold them to resellers and received payment through PayPal accounts that he controlled. PayPal, in turn, would deposit the funds into bank accounts that Brock controlled.
In total, Brock made approximately $450,000 reselling the textbooks that he stole from Wiley. These textbooks had a retail value of over $2.8 million. The money that Brock earned as a result of the scheme was largely used for personal expenditures, including, among other things, high-end home furnishings and scuba diving equipment.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Cavanaugh sentenced Brock to two years of community service. Restitution will be determined at a later date.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, for the investigation. U.S. Attorney Fishman also thanked John Wiley & Sons for its cooperation and assistance with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel V. Shapiro of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.