Former Utz exec pleads guilty in fraud scheme

Accused of bilking Utz Quality Foods out of more than $1 million, a former executive of the Hanover-based company pleaded guilty on Tuesday to wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

Kevin Myers, 38, formerly of Abbottstown, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan E. Schwab in Harrisburg to charges that he defrauded the snack-food giant out of about $1.4 million, according to a news release. Myers was the former director of purchasing for Utz.

Myers and Jonathan Haas, 45, of Easton, were charged in June in the alleged kickback scheme.

Haas, the former owner of Haas Packaging and Design Inc. in Bethlehem, was a vendor supplying Utz with shelving and packaging products between January 2007 and August 2014, the news release stated. Haas allegedly submitted approximately 83 false invoices and 43 false purchase orders prepared for Myers for products Utz never received. 

“After Myers approved Haas’ false invoices for payment, Haas allegedly would kickback a portion of the proceeds to Myers, ” U.S. Attorney Peter Smith stated in the news release. “Haas allegedly received approximately $1,474,765 from Utz as a result of the false invoices and kicked back approximately $651,000 of that amount to Myers.”

Additionally, Myers and Haas allegedly tried to conceal kickbacks to Myers as payments for consulting services. Some payments were in the form of checks made payable to “Myers Packaging Consulting,” a fictional business created by Myers, according to the news release.

The wire fraud charge specifically pertains to an alleged interstate wire transmission of a $26,000 check into a bank account for Myers Packaging Consulting in January 2014. The government is also seeking forfeiture of about $1.4 million as proceeds of the scheme, the news release stated.

Nicole Chynoweth
Nicole Chynoweth is the web editor for Central Penn Business Journal. Email her at nchynoweth@cpbj.com.

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