A Choctaw man is charged in federal court with wire fraud and money laundering in a $7 million embezzlement case involving a local oil-field pipe company and mall kiosks around the country.
According to the charges filed against him, Rodney Alan Hager, 38, was an employee of J&B Pipe Supply Co. and the owner of Mall Concepts of Oklahoma, Inc., which operated mall kiosks in states including not only Oklahoma, but also Texas, Georgia, and Florida.
Hager, who worked for J&B from 2007 until 2014, is accused of wiring money from the oil-field pipe company to different bank accounts that he controlled, including the Mall Concepts of Oklahoma accounts. He is further accused of opening credit cards in the name of a J&B owner, and then using the company's funds to pay off that credit card. Additionally, prosecutors say the man took blank signed checks intended to pay the company's suppliers, but instead cashed them or used them to deposit funds into his own accounts.
Over the course of his employment, Hager is accused of stealing approximately $7.14 million from J&B Pipe Supply Co., a small, family-owned business that is feeling the sting of not only declining oil prices, but also a multi-million dollar theft. A business co-owner, Hager's uncle, said that, in retrospect, there were "red flags" that should have alerted them to the embezzlement earlier, and they "feel bad" that they didn't notice the problem earlier.
The federal wire fraud statute is found in 18 U.S. Code § 1343 and states that using wire, radio, or television with the intent to obtain money by false pretenses is a felony. The penalty for federal wire fraud conviction is a maximum of 20 years in prison unless the fraud involves a major disaster or emergency or financial institution. In such a case, the crime is punishable by a maximum of 30 years in prison.
Money laundering, prohibited in 18 U.S. Code § 1956, is likewise a felony punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison.
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