In a multifaceted case, Springfield business Pro1 IAQ Inc. agreed to pay more than $1 million to the federal government after former executives allegedly embezzled funds from the nonprofit Preferred Family Healthcare Inc. to enrich the company.
The forfeiture is part of a nonprosecution agreement with Pro1 announced yesterday, according to a news release from the office of Teresa Moore, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
“Company owners and executives abused their leadership positions in an unrelated charity to illegally enrich themselves and their for-profit company,” Moore said in the release. “More than $1 million from the health care charity, primarily funded by Medicaid reimbursements, was siphoned to Pro1 through a series of illicit payments over several years. Pro1 has accepted responsibility for the criminal conduct of its former executives and cooperated with the federal investigation."
The nonprosecution agreement names the executives as Bontiea and Tom Goss. They previously worked as chief operating officer and chief financial officer, respectively, for Pro1.
The Gosses previously held the same titles at PFH, a Springfield nonprofit that fired them in early 2019, just before they were indicted for their roles in a separate embezzlement and public corruption scheme, according to past reporting. The Gosses' alleged crimes at PFH are scheduled to be reviewed at a trial in October, said Don Ledford, spokesperson for Moore's office.
PFH in the spring agreed to pay more than $8 million to the federal government as part of a nonprosecution agreement, Springfield Business Journal previously reported.
At Pro1, a company that designs and sells indoor thermostats nationwide, the Gosses allegedly directed PFH employees to complete tasks for the business. The employees sometimes worked full time for Pro1 while being paid by the charity, according to the release.
PFH additionally paid Pro1 for the lease of a warehouse for approximately three years, and it provided office space in the charity’s main office building at no cost to Pro1 for more than a year, according to federal officials.
"While Pro1 did not provide appropriate oversight regarding the actions of its agents, which could be considered willful blindness, many of the actions taken by Pro1’s executives were done without specific knowledge of the president and the corporate board of directors," officials with Moore's office said in the release. "Pro1, as a part of this investigation, has discontinued the leadership roles of those executives and has cooperated fully with the federal criminal investigation."
The Gosses, who combined owned roughly 45% of Pro1, are named in the nonprosecution agreement with another, unnamed person who also controlled the operations of the business. Identified only as Person #21, the individual co-founded Pro1 and served as the company's president, according to the federal document.
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