A 61-year-old Waukesha man was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison followed by four years of probation for embezzling more than $800,000 from a Sussex business, according to the IRS’ Criminal Investigation Department.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman handed down the sentence to John F. Losee, the former general manager at Heim Manufacturing Corp., who stole the money from the company between 2003 and 2009.
“Over the last three years I have had the opportunity to go through a process of self-evaluation to try to understand how I could make such a huge mistake of betrayal and dishonesty to all who trusted and relied on me,” Losee said in a letter to Adelman. “I am truly sorry. I am also thankful that the truth came out in 2009 and that I will be able to put this all behind me.
Losee submitted fraudulent purchase orders and invoices using the name of an actual vendor to cause Heim Manufacturing to issue more than 220 checks payable to the fictitious business Losee created. Losee then diverted these checks to bank accounts under his control and used the money to pay for personal expenses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
In addition, Losee failed to report as income the funds he had embezzled from Heim Manufacturing on the tax returns he filed for the years 2003 through 2009. By failing to report this income, Losee under reported and underpaid his federal income taxes for these years by about $165,000.
Losee had faced up to 23 years in prison on the charges. Losee pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing a false federal income tax return. As part of a plea deal, he agreed to make full restitution to the company.
Losee previously owned the company, he said in his letter to the judge, and when his largest client went bankrupt, the company’s finances fell into trouble. A bank called one of his loans and sold his company. The company became Heim Manufacturing Corp., which retained Losee as a general manager.
When Losee began embezzling the money from the company, it was to pay for his mother’s nursing home fees. But then he started taking home more money.
“Two years of dealing with this mess put me in a very critical frame of mind,” Losee wrote. “I should have faced reality and admitted I lost. Instead, I went into denial and foolishly tried to control this whole situation on my own. … I took the easy way and cowardly way out and started stealing from Heim.”