Gainesville Man Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Nearly $1 Million

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Tony Patton, 42, of Gainesville, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to embezzling nearly $1 million from his former employer, a Belgium-based company with its U.S. headquarters in Manassas, Virginia.

Neil H. MacBride, United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and James W. McJunkin, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Claude Hilton.

Patton pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 22, 2012.

According to court documents, Patton was employed as a vice president and managed the company’s operations within the U.S. From September 2008 through August 2011, Patton embezzled at least $950,000 from the company. During the three-year scheme, Patton transferred funds from corporate accounts to his own personal bank account, obtained reimbursement for personal expenditures that he falsely represented were corporate expenses, used company debit cards and checks to pay for personal expenses, paid himself a monthly commission without the company’s knowledge or consent, and diverted refunds payable to the company to himself.

According to plea papers, Patton used his work laptop to conceal his fraud by creating fake invoices. For example, Patton created a fake $8,500 invoice and used the funds to pay for the down payment on a Cadillac Escalade. He also created a fake invoice that caused the company to pay a portion of the down payment on a 2007 BMW. Furthermore, Patton altered company accounting records in order to cover up his fraud. For instance, he changed accounting entries from payments to Washington Capitals Hockey to Washington CAP LLC and from Piedmont Country Club to PCC.

In addition, Patton used the money he stole from the company to pay for numerous vacations, including family trips to Disney World, Myrtle Beach, and the Bahamas, as well as personal trips to Las Vegas, Toronto, and Boston. He also used corporate funds to pay for home remodeling and repair work, theater tickets, property taxes, boat storage and maintenance, golf and hockey equipment, XM satellite radio, and other personal expenditures.

This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant United States Attorney Uzo Asonye is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

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