ROCKFORD – A Cary business owner faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty Monday in federal court to wire fraud for stealing more than $1 million, federal prosecutors said.
Clare Thomas Anderson, 44, owned Certifibre and Anderson International Global; he did business as Worldwide Paper Company, American Surplus Supply, Southernmost Exports, Southernmost Holdings and Sea Consulting, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Anderson operated the businesses in Cary and Florida, and sold wood pulp and other raw materials to manufacturers, brokers and suppliers, usually in foreign countries.
However, between April 2009 and January, he stole more than $1 million from more than 10 people, according to the news release.
In the scheme, Anderson received payments of shipments before they arrived at destinations, often by obtaining letters of credit from clients’ banks to pay for shipments in advance, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Anderson created fraudulent bills of lading, certificates of orgin and packing lists that falsely represented the agreed upon quantity and quality of materials that had been shipped.
Anderson admitted he would ship scrap materials instead of wood pulp and other raw materials to customers or ship smaller amounts of wood pulp and raw materials, then tell customers the shipments were short because of clerical errors, according to the news release.
To maximize profits from the scheme, Anderson also would not pay for the materials he obtained or shipping charges. He used the money for his personal expenses, according to the news release.
To avoid detection, Anderson paid back some customers after he was contacted by them or they threatened to contact law enforcement. Anderson used money from other customers to give refunds, according to the news release.
Anderson is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 22. He faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and a fine of twice the loss to victims or twice his gain, whichever is greater.