In yet another example of the threat posed by wire fraud to manufacturing companies, a former Verizon engineer in Ohio reportedly duped a major industrial distributor out of nearly $1 million in fraudulent purchases.
Federal prosecutors announced Feb. 2 that Jeremie Adam Elkins, 44, of Newark, Ohio, was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly causing about $1 million in fraud while he was a network engineer at the wireless giant.
A 16-count indictment found that from July to October 2020, Elkins used his company credit card to pay for personal expenses like hotels and resorts, restaurants, bars, pawn shops and auction houses.
He also apparently used an old Verizon work order number to place dozens of fraudulent orders at MRO products giant W.W. Grainger — North America’s largest industrial distributor — which provides tools and equipment for Verizon service vans.
The man allegedly placed 46 unauthorized orders to Grainger and personally picked up most of the equipment purchases, which totaled about $936,000. He then allegedly used the proceeds to buy two boats and a motorcycle.
A news release from the U.S. attorney's office didn't mention how the man obtained those proceeds.
Court documents showed that Elkins placed another 20 unauthorized orders to Grainger that totaled nearly $954,000, but never obtained the equipment.
Prosecutors said the man caused $24,000 in losses to Verizon and more than $936,000 in loss to Grainger, but it gets even better. When he was arrested this past August, he was allegedly carrying a pistol, which was illegal due to a previous felony conviction.
Besides the gun charge, he faces 10 counts of wire fraud and five counts of access device fraud.