Former Chick-fil-A directors sentenced in scheme to swindle nearly $500,000, feds say

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Two former Chick-fil-A workers went from behind the counters to behind bars after a federal judge sent them to prison on accusations of a conspiracy to defraud their fast-food employer in Alabama.

Larry James Black Jr., 37, of Center Point was sentenced to 30 months in prison and Joshua Daniel Powell, 40, of Moody was sentenced to 15 months. Black pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud in September 2021 and Powell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in June 2021.

Black held the title of business director for hospitality at the Chick-fil-A, and Powell held the title of director, court documents noted.

Black and Powell plotted to defraud Chick-fil-A’s Five Points location in Birmingham, Alabama, while working there as employees by diverting almost half a million dollars in customer payments to bank accounts controlled by those involved in the conspiracy, according to court documents.

The two directors created an email and digital payment accounts that appeared to be the official accounts, tricking customers into sending payments there for catering services and other restaurant sales, the indictment stated.

Between April 2018 and January 2020, Black and Powell’s scheme diverted about $492,000 from the business through customer credit card payments, the Department of Justice said in a news release.

According to court records, the duo created at least four faulty “Chick-fil-A” accounts to which they deposited thousands of dollars. Black is accused of using a fake Social Security number to open some of the accounts.

In the past, the court noted that Black from the age of 20 to 29 had a history of passing bad checks, which officials said were used to purchase necessities such as food “in several instances.”

However, this time, the court said Black’s alleged fraud went beyond a grocery list: He was accused of using his position at Chick-fil-A to forge payroll records to misrepresent his income, securing him a mortgage on a new home for $159,000.

Black also has reported medical conditions and recently underwent surgery. His health will need to be monitored constantly, according to the court system.

“A custodial sentence of no more than 30 months will serve to advance the need to provide Mr. Black with medical treatment in the most effective manner by limiting the amount of time that the Bureau of Prisons must manage his chronic health conditions and allowing him to resume care with his present medical providers sooner,” the court said.

McClatchy News reached out to both attorneys defending Black and Powell and did not receive a response.

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