Alabama man heads to prison after admitting he stole $550,000 from former employer

Published 2:03 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2024

An Alabama man is headed to federal prison after he admitted to stealing more than $550,000 from the Kentucky company where he once worked, federal prosecutors said.

Jeremy Clay Guthrie, 45, of Boaz, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison, by U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove, for wire fraud and aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns.

According to his guilty plea agreement, Guthrie was employed as the manager of the Frankfort, Ky. branch of a privately owned aviary supply business, until he was fired on September 27, 2017.

During his last two years as a manager, he stole over $550,000 from his employer and customers, by charging customer credit and debit cards for products but diverting payment for those products to his own personal company, Guthrie’s Naturals.

He also altered the pay-to lines on checks from customers and routinely offered customers unauthorized discounts in exchange for cash payments, embezzling much of the cash he received.

Guthrie also created false pick tickets for sales to customers of his employer’s products, concealed those sales from his employer, and pocketed the proceeds.

The Defendant also failed to disclose all the income he received from this fraudulent scheme to his tax preparer or the IRS, for tax years 2016 and 2017.

Ultimately, Guthrie agreed that he underreported his income by $325,543and admitted that he intentionally concealed a significant portion of his company sales and other unlawfully obtained proceeds and spent proceeds from unreported sales and cash transactions, in part, to fund a drug addiction.

At sentencing, the Court found that the criminal loss caused by Guthrie’s crimes was between $550,000 and $1,500,000. An order of restitution to the victims remains pending.

Under federal law, Guthrie must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence; and upon his release from prison, he will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for three years.

Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Karen Wingerd, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Cincinnati Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation; Robert Holman, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service; and Chris Quire, Franklin County Sheriff, jointly announced the sentence.

The federal investigation was conducted by IRS-CI, USSS, and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Tashena A. Fannin.