Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Former Honda facilities manager jailed for fraud, embezzlement

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A former facilities manager at Honda’s Marysville plant has been sentenced for stealing money from the automaker and another company.

Charles Michael Stratton, 63, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 42 months in prison for wire fraud and money laundering.

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Stratton, a Fairborn resident, was also ordered to pay more than $750,000 in restitution to Honda, and $10,000 to Scioto Industrial Services, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Ohio said.

“Stratton devised not just one, but multiple methods for defrauding Honda of more than three-quarters of a million dollars,” U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers said in a release. “The defendant skimmed from overages, arranged for double billing, and approved false invoices. Now, he will spend time in federal prison.”

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Stratton served as facilities manager for Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. in Marysville, from 2008 until March 2015. In that job, he oversaw vendor contracts, including those for security services, janitorial services, food service and uniform and laundry work on behalf of Honda.

Acrux Investigation Agency, in Lakeview, provided physical and personal security services for Honda, prosecutors said. Surmount, also in Lakeview, was a subsidiary of Acrux and provided monitoring services to Honda, as the U.S. Attorney’s Office described the relationship.

“Stratton executed a scheme to defraud Honda using Acrux and Surmount by creating multiple purchase orders for payments in amounts just under $100,000, a threshold in which additional oversight and approval is required,” prosecutors said.

Using these purchase orders, as well as main labor contract, Stratton caused Acrux and Surmount to submit false invoices or bills to Honda and instructed them to keep the money in what prosecutors called a “future fund.”

Either Stratton was paid or the money was laundered by paying his sports club SAFE, Springfield Area Fastball Elites, Inc., prosecutors said. SAFE was an Ohio non-profit created by Stratton to support local baseball teams. However, prosecutors said SAFE lost its classification as a 501(c)(3) in 2010.

Stratton was indicted by a grand jury in May 2018 and pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering in October 2019.

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