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A former employee of Utz Quality Foods Inc. pleaded guilty Tuesday to defrauding the company out of about $1.4 million, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Kevin Myers, 38, formerly of Abbottstown and the former director of purchasing with the company, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, the release states.

Myers and Jonathan Haas, 45, of Easton, Northampton County, were charged in June with wire fraud, according to the release. Haas is the former owner of Haas Packaging and Design Inc.

According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, Haas Packaging and Design supplied Utz with shelving and packaging products between January 2007 and August 2014. Myers and Haas 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 through 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.

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 cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.

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