On March 3, 2021, it was announced Robert Fowler, former Controller of Town and Country Ford in Evansville, Indiana, would be sentenced to 30 months in prison for Money Laundering and Bank Fraud.
Using Company Funds for Personal Gain
Fowler was an employee of Town and Country Ford for nearly 20 years before he was terminated in 2016. Fowler spent 12 years as an office assistant before becoming the Controller, managing payroll, taxes, and accounting for the dealership.
In September 2016, Town and Country Ford’s parent company, Hays Automotive Group, became suspicious after discovering inconsistencies in the books and records at Town and Country Ford.
Fowler was terminated and, upon further investigation, a number of his embezzlement schemes were uncovered. Fowler’s schemes included:
- Opening unauthorized bank accounts to write checks to himself and personal acquaintances
- Paying child support and home expenses with company monies
- Using company credit cards for personal transactions
- Making personal credit card payments with company monies
- Applying for an unauthorized $250,000.00 loan with forged corporate signatures
IRS Criminal Investigation and the FBI jointly investigated Fowler’s embezzlement as part of Acting United States Attorney John Childress’ renewed effort to investigate and prosecute employee fraud. According to Childress:
“Fraud by company insiders robs their victims of money and worse, it robs them of their trust in others. Greed and deception were the roots of Robert Fowler’s life. He will now face the consequences of his choices.”
In addition to serving 30 months in prison, Fowler must also pay $432,873 in restitution to Hays Automotive Group and will serve 2 years of supervised release following his imprisonment.
As a forensic accounting firm, SDC CPAs has extensive experience investigating employee fraud. This case of employee fraud is illustrative of several common characteristics of these crimes. Commonly these major, long-term cases of employee fraud involve trusted, long-term employees. These employees typically have little oversight and abuse their earned trust, enriching themselves at the company’s expense.