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Springfieldian sentenced for $4M fraud

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A Springfield man was sentenced in federal court for his role in a nearly $4 million fraud scheme involving an Oregon-based company, according to a news release from Beth Phillips, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Douglas Feller, 38, was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison without parole, ordered to pay restitutions costs of $738,941 to the Internal Revenue Service and will be required to pay restitution to Beaverton, Ore.-based Yakima Products Inc., the company he defrauded in the scheme.

The restitution for Yakima - which operates a luggage and bicycle rack manufacturing and distribution facility and a water craft facility - is not yet determined, but it is not to exceed $3.9 million, the release said.

Feller pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of income tax evasion.

Feller served as a transportation consultant and later as director of distribution and logistics for Yakima, working out of his Springfield home as a contract employer. He was responsible for approving invoices for payment; Yakima's accounting department relied on Feller's approval of the invoices as proof of payment.

Feller created a fictitious company called Cooper Enterprises to bill Yakima for freight that was purportedly hauled by Cooper Enterprises, but freight was actually never hauled. Feller received approximately $3.8 million from Yakima through the Cooper Enterprises scheme, which he deposited into Cooper Enterprises bank accounts, according to the release.

Feller was aided by Christopher Levato, of Simpsonville, S.C., who represented himself as a Cooper Enterprises agent or employee and would field questions from Yakima. Levato pleaded guilty and was sentenced for his role in December, the release said.

Feller also received more than $110,000 from Yakima for fraudulent invoices he approved for freight purportedly hauled by Southern Logistics that was never hauled.

Utilizing another fictitious company called United Transport, Feller submitted inflated invoices on legitimate freight charges, with the additional funds going to Feller and a co-conspirator, who was not named in the release.

In total, Feller and his co-conspirators were found to have defrauded Yakima for nearly $4 million, the release said.

During the 2004 and 2005 calendar years, Feller attempted to evade paying income tax of $336,824 and $250,803, respectively, by concealing his true and correct income.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robyn McKee and investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and the FBI.[[In-content Ad]]


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