Gadsden man pleads guilty to mail fraud

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A Gadsden man has plead guilty to mail fraud in connection with more than $100,000 in fake invoices.

William Lenn Coffey, 39, pleaded guilty Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins to one count of mail fraud, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance sent Thursday to FOX6 News. The guilty plea is in connection with more than $100,000 in fake invoices for insulating blankets that were supposed to be supplied to the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Vance said according to Coffey's plea agreement, Coffey's accomplice, Daniel Sieber II, who pleaded guilty earlier this year, was the manager for the Gadsden office of Shaw Field Services, a subsidiary of Louisiana-based Shaw Group Inc. The parent company, Shaw Group, had a contract with TVA in 2004 to provide insulating blankets for some TVA power plants. Shaw Field Services was later bought and became Analytic Stress Relieving in 2005.

Between June 2005 and June 2007, Vance said Sieber created fraudulent invoices for insulating blankets and submitted them to Shaw Field Services/Analytic Stress Relieving. The invoices were from Coffey Manufacturing, a fictitious vendor in Albertville, that was created by Coffey for the purposes of conducting the fraudulent scheme. Coffey also opened a post office box for Coffey Manufacturing for the purpose of receiving payment on the fraudulent invoices.  When the payments came in, Coffey would cash the checks from Shaw Field Services/Analytic Stress Relieving and divide the proceeds with Sieber.

Vance said Coffey and Sieber knew the invoices were fraudulent and that Shaw Field Services/Analytic Stress Relieving had not received the insulating blankets from Coffey Manufacturing, the plea agreement said.  Sieber submitted $106,662 in fraudulent invoices to his company, which paid Coffey Manufacturing $91,855.

Vance said the maximum sentence for the mail fraud charge is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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