Federal authorities announced Thursday that a Cary business owner was sentenced to more than five years in prison for an international fraud scheme.
On Thursday, in federal court, U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala sentenced Clare Thomas Anderson, 45, to 63 months in prison for conducting a three-and-a-half year, multimillion dollar fraud scheme.
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In addition, Kapala ordered Anderson to serve three years of supervised release following his exit from prison and to pay restitution of $6,191,155 to the companies victimized by the scheme, which involved selling wood pulp and other raw materials that were in many cases worthless or in quantities that fell short of what was ordered.
Anderson, who owned and operated multiple businesses in Cary and Florida, pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge on April 5, 2012.
According to the plea agreement, Anderson contracted to sell his products to manufacturers, brokers and suppliers, usually located in foreign countries, through the following businesses: Certifibre, LLC; Anderson International Global, LLC, which had an assumed name of Worldwide Paper Company, Inc.; American Surplus Supply; Southernmost Exports, LLC; Southernmost Holdings, LTD; and Sea Consulting, LLC.
Authorities said Anderson received payments from his customers before the shipments arrived at their destinations. Often, the customers obtained letters of credit from their banks in order to pay for the shipments in advance.
Anderson admitted that he obtained these payments by creating and presenting fraudulent documents to his customers, falsely representing the quantity and quality of materials that had been shipped.
He also admitted that, instead of shipping the wood pulp or other raw materials he had agreed to sell, he frequently shipped worthless scrap material to his foreign customers. When customers complained, he falsely told them the materials were intended for other customers in different countries.
On some occasions, Anderson said, he shipped substantially smaller amounts than what he had agreed to ship to customers, telling customers who complained that the short shipments were due to clerical errors.
In addition, authorities said, Anderson failed to pay his own suppliers and also failed to pay shipping charges for freight.
He also admitted that he spent the fraudulently obtained funds on personal expenses.
On the few occasions when, under threat of alerting federal law enforcement officials, he did refund money, he said, he obtained the funds by defrauding additional customers.
The sentencing was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Shields, Jr., acting special agent-in-charge of the Chicago office of the FBI.