US project manager charged with $2.7m fake-invoice fraud

A 52-year-old project manager in the US state of Indiana has been charged with bamboozling his employer out of $2.7m with fake invoices over more than a decade, and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors allege that Troy Sissom – who they say has already agreed to plead guilty – created a company in 2003 and used it to issue fake invoices for building materials to the construction firm he worked for.

Sissom was employed by the FA Wilhelm Construction Company (WCC), a large firm in the state whose portfolio includes a new library for the University of Indiana (pictured).

His responsibilities included creating estimates, overseeing the financial aspects of projects and approving material purchases.

According to prosecutors, he created a company, LTEE Source, and rented a UPS mailbox in its name.

Right up until 2015, prosecutors say, Sissom created false invoices for the company, and deposited the payments in a bank account.

Over 12 years WCC paid $2.7m in false invoices, while the US government was deprived of $381,000 in tax revenue, says the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Indiana.

"Fraud, tax evasion, and other white collar crimes are offences that ultimately take money out of the pockets of hard working Hoosiers and such crimes will be aggressively prosecuted by this office," said US attorney Josh Minkler in announcing the charges. ("Hoosier" is a nickname for residents of Indiana.)

The charges of mail fraud and tax evasion carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

If found guilty, Sissom will also have to make full restitution to WCC and the Internal Revenue Service.

The Attorney’s Office said Sissom has already agreed to plead guilty to the two charges.

WCC is the second largest construction firm in Indiana, and has worked on a number of projects for the University of Indiana as well as corporations such as pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.

Phil Kenney, the company’s chief executive, told the Indiana Business Journal last week that the company was "fine" and that its insurance will cover the losses.

Image: The Krannert Memorial Library, completed by FA Wilhelm at the University of Indiana (FA Wilhelm)

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