Former Utz employee, vendor charged with $1.4M fraud
A former Utz employee and a vendor are accused of defrauding the Hanover-based company of more than $1 million.
Kevin Myers, 38, formerly of Abbottstown, and Jonathan Haas, 45, of Easton, Northampton County, are charged with a false invoice kickback scheme that defrauded Utz out of about $1.4 million, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Myers was the former director of purchasing for Utz, and Haas was the former owner of Haas Packaging and Design Inc., the release states.
According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, Haas Packaging and Design supplied Utz with shelving and packaging products between January 2010 and August 2014. The two allegedly defrauded Utz through Haas' submission of about 83 false invoices, as well as 43 bogus purchase orders prepared by Myers for products Utz would never receive, the release states.
Haas is accused of receiving approximately $1,474,765 from Utz because of the invoices and kicking back about $651,000 of that to Myers, according to the release. The government is seeking forfeiture of approximately $1.4 million, according to the release.
The two also allegedly tried to conceal the kickbacks to Myers in the form of payments for consulting services, with some in the form of checks payable to "Myers Packaging Consulting," a fictional business entity, the release states.
According to the release, a wire fraud charge relates to an alleged interstate wire transmissions of a $26,000 check to a Myers Packaging Consulting bank account in January 2014.
Plea agreements, which are subject to court approval, have been filed for the men by the government, according to the release.
The case was investigated by the Harrisburg FBI office, and Utz Quality Foods Inc. cooperated with the investigation.
The maximum penalty for the men under federal law is 20 years in prison, a supervised release following imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, according to the release.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at email@example.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.