Beckley man sentenced for federal fraud crime

BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A Beckley man was sentenced for committing wire fraud.

39-year-old Timothy Gross, of Beckley, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $65,275.44 in restitution for wire fraud. He revealed that he made a fraudulent payment with a credit card given by his employer, as part of a plan to move $65,275.44 in credit card charges to his own bank account.

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According to court documents, Amerihost LLC hired Gross in 2020 to be a maintenance worker at Beckley Town Homes, which is a multi-unit apartment building in Beckley. Gross was given a credit card by Amerihost that was meant for business, not personal use.

A payment of $1,712 was submitted by Gross to “J and Sons Electrical and Plumbing” on April 5, 2020 using the credit card from Amerihost. Gross revealed that the payment was not for work purposes, and that he had made a fraudulent invoice that referred to the payment being needed for eight circuit-breaker panel boxes.

In addition to revealing that the payment was not intended for work purposes, Gross also admitted that he had opened an account on the Square payments platform for “J and Sons Electrical and Plumbing” for his personal use from the Amerihost credit card. He then linked the Square account to his personal bank account.

From around January 1, 2020 to at least April 15, 2020, Gross sent $65,275.44 from the Amerihost credit card to “J and Sons Electrical and Plumbing” in fraudulent, unauthorized payments around 38 different times, for work that was not done. Creating fake work invoices was a part of Gross’ plan.

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This defendant’s wrongdoing required purposeful planning, and he persisted all the while knowing that his actions were criminal. The defendant abused the trust and authority placed in him to enrich himself, and today’s sentence serves as a deterrent to such misconduct.

Will Thompson | United States Attorney

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General is committed to working with the Department of Justice and all of our law enforcement partners to ensure that federal funds intended to help low-income families are not wasted or misapplied. Mr. Gross’s sentencing today demonstrates the Government’s commitment to protecting the integrity of HUD programs against fraud, waste, or abuse.

Special Agent-in-Charge Shawn Rice

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Will Thompson, who praised the Beckley Police Department, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG) for their work on the investigation.

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