St Johns man found guilty of scheme to defraud employer

A federal jury has found 30-year-old Justin Gregory Pennington guilty of one count of conspiracy and nine counts of wire fraud today, according to a report filed with Historic City News by Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow.

Pennington, who resides on Magnolia Shoals Way in Ponte Vedra Beach, was determined to have been the kingpin in a scheme to defraud his employer and its investors out of millions of dollars.

“While Pennington was employed as an Information Technology Director at The Wholesale House, an Ohio-based company with offices in Jacksonville, he and his co-conspirators created a fraudulent company named 3 Kings LLC,” Muldrow told local reporters. “Pennington and his co-conspirators illegally competed with The Wholesale House by using confidential sales information to purchase products from the company, at or near cost, then reselling those products to the originally intended consumers and retailers.”

According to evidence presented at trial, “3 Kings LLC” purchased nearly $40 million of products from The Wholesale House, unbeknownst to the owners. Pennington controlled the limited liability company’s bank accounts but never paid the entirety of its bills owed to The Wholesale House. Instead, Pennington and his co-conspirators spent tens of thousands of dollars on themselves, with Pennington incurring credit card balances of up to $100,000 per month, while owing his employer millions of dollars.

The Wholesale House owners testified that they had personally infused more than $7 million into the company to ensure its survival and to protect the jobs of the company’s more than 60 employees.

Pennington faces up to 20-years in federal prison on each count and mandatory restitution of approximately $5 million. His sentencing hearing has been scheduled for August 2, 2017.

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