Former manager of DeRidder ranch supply pleads guilty to wire fr - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Former manager of DeRidder ranch supply pleads guilty to wire fraud

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Lafayette, LA (KPLC) -

U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced Thursday that the former manager for Beauregard Ranch and Tractor Supply, in DeRidder, pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud charges related to his embezzlement of funds associated with customer accounts.

According to a news release from Finley's office, 53-year-old Arnold Russell Williams, of Singer, along with his wife, Janet L. Williams, was charged in February of 2006 with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Finley said Arnold Williams pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Federal officials say as manager of Beauregard Ranch and Tractor Supply (BRATS), during Aug. 2, 2000 through Jan. 18, 2001, Arnold Williams, along with the assistance of his wife, Janet L. Williams, used customer account information to submit false electronic account information and invoices to Farm Plan Credit Financial (The Plan).

"Some of the BRATS customers used Farm Plan Credit accounts, which were provided by Farm Plan Credit Financial, as a means to make credit purchases for John Deere equipment. After Williams submitted the false information, The Plan would then reimburse BRATS directly by electronically wiring funds into the BRATS' bank account for the false credit charges that were submitted. When the customers received their billing statements, they contacted BRATS and were informed by Arnold Williams that they had been billed by mistake due to a computer error. BRATS customers told investigators that they did not order any of the items for which they were billed, did not ask for quotes or prices for any of the items, and did not receive any items for which their accounts were billed," Finley said in the release.

At sentencing, federal authorities say Williams faces a term of imprisonment of not more than five years, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both, and a term of supervised release of not more than three years.

Sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 17, 2013.

The case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lake Charles Resident Agency, and is being prosecuted by Finley.

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