Former Beckley Lumber Executive Sentenced for Embezzling Over $800,000

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – A former Chief Financial Officer for a Beckley lumber company who embezzled over $800,000 was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and ordered to pay full restitution, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. James Matthew Miller, 43, previously pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud on December 6, 2017.   Stuart praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Unscrupulous employees – be that rank and file workers or top executives — can cause substantial financial harm to their employers.  The prosecution of these crimes is vital to the success of West Virginia businesses,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.

Miller formerly worked as an executive for a lumber company until September 2013. In his role as Chief Financial Officer, his responsibilities included oversight of log inventories from vendors. From approximately December 31, 2007, to August 30, 2013, Miller admitted that he issued payments to a sham vendor, a close friend of Miller’s, and falsely inflated log inventories to conceal the fraud. He created a fictitious log vendor that has never hauled or delivered logs to the lumber company. Miller also admitted that he created false payment requests and then drafted and signed checks from the lumber company to the fake vendor. The fictitious vendor cashed the checks or deposited the checks in his bank account, then provided Miller with the money, minus a small amount Miller permitted the vendor to keep. During the course of the fraud, Miller was responsible for 160 checks totaling $822,396.63 from the company to the sham vendor. Miller admitted that he concealed the fraud and committed wire fraud by submitting company reports based on artificially inflated log inventories, and then emailed the reports to a lumber mill manager in Tennessee and a BB&T in Georgia.

Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald was in charge of the prosecution. United States District Judge Irene C. Berger handed down the sentence.

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