Archive for Thursday, July 16, 2009

Huhtamaki employee indicted for redirecting payments to personal account

July 16, 2009, 2:47 p.m.

Updated: July 16, 2009, 4:10 p.m.

A federal grand jury has indicted a 34-year-old employee of Huhtamaki U.S., a specialty packaging company with headquarters in De Soto, on charges that he stole more than $180,000 from the company.

Joseph S. Bowen, 34, Kansas City, Mo., is charged in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., with eight counts of wire fraud. The crimes are alleged to have occurred from April 12, 2006, to Aug. 8, 2008, in Wyandotte County.

According to the indictment, Bowen worked as deductions coordinator for Huhtamaki, which provides consumer goods, packaging and food service containers, as well as a line of premium disposable tableware.

Bowen's duties included receiving invoices from vendors and processing payments to vendors and customers who qualify for rebates for large volume discounts, special promotions or refunds for overpayment.

The indictment alleges Bowen redirected vendor and customer payments into his personal bank account by making false entries into the company's accounting system. Prosecutors say Bowen attempted to hide his activities by using another employee's username and password to access the computer system.

As a result, wire transfers were made from Huhtamaki's Bank of America account, processed through the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, and eventually paid to Bowen's Bank of America account in Richmond, Va.

Bowen, the indictment said, fraudulently caused a series of wire transfers to be made in the following amounts: $1,682; $5,981; $8,696; $19,891; $9,639; $16,866; $77,300 and $55,611.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each count. The Federal Bureau of Investigation worked on the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Oakley is prosecuting.

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