LAFAYETTE, La. - The former manager for Beauregard Ranch and Tractor Supply in DeRidder, La. pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud charges related to his embezzlement of funds associated with customer accounts.
According to the United States Attorney on Thursday, Arnold Russell Williams, 53, of Singer, La., along with his wife, Janet L. Williams, was charged in February 2006 with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Arnold Williams pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
As manager of Beauregard Ranch & Tractor Supply (BRATS) from Aug. 2, 2000 to Jan. 18, 2001, Williams and his wife used customer account information to submit false electronic account information and invoices to Farm Plan Credit Financial (The Plan). Authorities say some of the BRATS customers used Farm Plan Credit accounts, which were provided by Farm Plan Credit Financial, as a means to make credit purchases for John Deere equipment.
After Williams submitted the false information, The Plan would reimburse BRATS directly by electronically wiring funds into the BRATS' bank account for the false credit charges that were submitted. According to police reports, when the customers received their billing statements, they contacted BRATS and were informed by Williams that they had been billed by mistake due to a computer error.
BRATS customers told investigators that they did not order any of the items for which they were billed, did not ask for quotes or prices for any of the items, and did not receive any items for which their accounts were billed.
At sentencing, Williams faces a term of imprisonment of not more than five years, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both, and a term of supervised release of not more than three years. The sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 17, 2013.
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