Brunswick man gets 2 years for defrauding Maine businesses of $440,000

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 27, 2012, at 3:49 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Brunswick man who admitted to stealing more than $440,000 from Wright Express and L.L.Bean and to committing tax fraud was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court to two years in federal prison.

In addition to prison time, Matthew J. LaForge, 38, was sentenced to three years of supervised release.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen also ordered LaForge to pay a total of $530,000 in restitution, which includes nearly $90,000 in unpaid taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

The judge ordered that LaForge begin serving his sentence on Jan. 4.

LaForge waived indictment and pleaded guilty in August to two counts of mail fraud and a tax evasion charge. According to court documents, he executed the scheme during a time when his wife was home caring for the couple’s young children and it became difficult to meet monthly expenses.

He admitted to defrauding his two former employers using an identical mail fraud scheme. Between 2006 and 2008, LaForge worked for Wright Express as a business analyst. He prepared and submitted invoices to the firm for marketing services totaling about $230,000 using the name of a fictitious company and directing payments to be sent to a mailbox address in New Hampshire, according to a press release issued Tuesday by the U.S. attorney’s office.

In 2009, while working for L.L. Bean, he reinstituted the scam and over the next two years billed that company about $220,000.

He failed to report the illicit income on his federal income tax returns for the years 2006 to 2012, resulting in more than $89,000 in unpaid income taxes.

When confronted by employees at L.L. Bean, LaForge immediately admitted what he had been doing, defense attorney George “Toby” Dilworth of Portland said in a telephone interview after the sentencing.

LaForge already has paid $24,000 toward restitution, the lawyer said.

LaForge faced up to 20 years in prison on the two counts of mail fraud and five years on the tax evasion charge. Under the prevailing federal sentencing guideline range, he faced between 37 and 46 months in federal prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy recommended that LaForge spend three years in prison. Dilworth urged Torresen to impose a lesser sentence.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/27/news/portland/brunswick-man-gets-2-years-for-defrauding-maine-businesses-of-440000/ printed on August 27, 2014