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Lafayette, LA (KPLC) -
A DeRidder man was sentenced last week in a federal wire fraud case.
According to a news release from U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley, the former manager of Beauregard Ranch & Tractor Supply, in DeRidder, was sentenced Friday in federal court in Lafayette by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote, to five years probation.
Arnold Russell Williams, 53, of Singer, was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $135,228.84.
Finley said the sentence was handed down as a result of Williams pleading guilty on Sept. 13, 2012, to wire fraud charges related to his embezzlement of funds associated with customer accounts.
Williams, 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 as manager of Beauregard Ranch & Tractor Supply (BRATS) during Aug. 2, 2000 through Jan. 8, 2001, Arnold Williams, along with the assistance of his wife, Janet, used customer account information to submit false electronic account information and invoices to Farm Plan Credit Financial (The Plan).
Finley said 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 Arnold Williams submitted the false information, Finley said the Plan would then reimburse BRATS directly by electronically wiring funds into the BRATS' bank account for false credit charges that were submitted.
Finley said 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. Finley said 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 the case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lake Charles Resident Agency, and was prosecuted by Finley.