Two sentenced in $13.5M scheme

August 26, 2008 9:13:14 PM PDT
A federal judge sentenced two men to prison Tuesday for stealing more than $13 million from a petrochemical company through a mail and wire fraud scheme. Vernon Franklin Beck and Donald Fred Cole Jr., both 52, pleaded guilty in November to the scheme, which involved setting up a shell corporation to submit false invoices to Texas Petrochemicals Corp. and take in money for services they never provided.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the men have helped authorities recover much of the stolen money and the property purchased with the money. Among the items the government says the men purchased were a 52-foot boat, jewelry, artwork, luxury vehicles and partnerships in oil royalties.

Beck was sentenced to four years in prison without the possibility of parole on two counts in the mail and wire fraud scheme. Cole was sentenced to three years and two months in prison without the possibility of parole, also on two counts. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

The men were ordered to pay $13.5 million in restitution to Texas Petrochemical.

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