2 charged with bilking Jessup firm of $2 million

October 30, 1992|By Norris P. West | Norris P. West,Staff Writer

Two former employees of a Jessup company have been charged with bilking the firm of $2.3 million by fabricating invoices from phony businesses around the world.

Richard J. Johnson, 46, of Perry Hall, and Geoffrey I. Boswell, 47, a British citizen, were charged with wire fraud and tax evasion in a federal indictment unsealed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Both were high-ranking officials of Tate Access Floors Inc., which has offices in the United States and London.

Tate manufactures pre-fabricated floors that are equipped with space for wires and cables.

Mr. Boswell was vice president for Tate's international operations, and Mr. Johnson was the company's international customer liaison.

Court papers charge that Mr. Boswell reported his taxable income at $355,734 from 1986 to 1990, when his actual income was $1.5 million, and that Mr. Johnson reported $229,222 instead of $760,549.

Mr. Johnson was arrested yesterday in Birmingham, England, by the Scotland Yard, and is awaiting extradition proceedings. His wife, Margaret, also was arrested by British authorities on charges of possessing a false passport.

Mr. Boswell was arrested on Monday after being spotted by a U.S. Customs agent, said U.S. Attorney Richard D. Bennett. He is scheduled to appear for a bail review hearing today before Magistrate Judge Paul M. Rosenberg.

Each of the men faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison. They are no longer employed by the company, according to Robert J. Mathias, a lawyer for Tate.

The investigation was coordinated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew G. W. Norman and also involved the Internal Revenue Service.

The indictment alleges that the two men and Graham Wall, an unindicted co-conspirator, participated in the fraud over a six-year period. It says they set up businesses in the Channel Islands, Panama, Anguilla, Holland, Switzerland and South America.

The phony companies submitted bills to Tate for fictitious business charges, services and goods, court papers allege.

The company paid the bills, believing they were legitimate.

Mr. Boswell and Mr. Holland used several mail drops in Philadelphia, New York and London to receive money from a Tate subsidiary in Great Britain, and deposited the money in secret bank accounts, the court papers charge.

According to the indictment, the men used a Baltimore printer to obtain stationery and engineering reports for the phony companies.

The paperwork was used to falsely bill Tate.

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