A federal grand jury has indicted a former fleet manager of publicly traded construction products manufacturer, alleging he defrauded his employer of $1.6 million by using company credit cards to fund his candle-making businesses, purchase first-class airline tickets and visit Hooters.
Steven Duety, 45, of Plano, Texas, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud, according to a grand jury indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
According to the Tuesday indictment, from 2015 to 2019, Duety oversaw fleet functions for Builders FirstSource (NASDAQ:BLDR) and had access to several company credit cards, which were to be used for fleet-related expenses, including titling and renewing vehicle registrations.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website, the construction products manufacturer has 306 power units and 172 drivers.
Builders FirstSource, headquartered in Dallas, operates in 40 states and has approximately 550 locations, according to its website.
Prosecutors claim Duety, along with a relative identified as “Person A” in the indictment, used the company’s credit cards for personal expenses, including purchasing inventory for their candle businesses, including “Steves The Man Candles,” according to the Department of Justice statement.
“We support the efforts of the U.S. attorney’s office,” Binit Sanghvi, vice president of investor relations at Builders FirstSource, told FreightWaves.
Court filings allege Duety frequently charged company credit cards for nonexistent transactions via Square or Intuit, causing the payment processors to remit money from Builders FirstSource straight into his or Person A’s bank account, identifying the transactions as a “car repair” or “fundraiser.”
When charges on Builders FirstSource credit cards were made through Person A’s Square Inc. account, she would either keep the funds or kick back a portion of the money to Duety, his wife or other family members via check, according to court documents.
Builders FirstSource used a third-party company to track credit card charges for fleet-related expenses. Duety received a weekly detailed statement and was the only one in his department responsible for reviewing all charges in the department, which allowed the fraudulent scheme to go undetected for nearly four years, according to court filings.
If convicted, Duety faces up to 200 years, 20 years per count, in federal prison, the DOJ said.
Click for more articles by FreightWaves Senior Editor Clarissa Hawes.
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