Construction company owner Paul Garrett, of Warne in western North Carolina, has been charged with conspiring to defraud Alabama Power Company (APCO) of $250,000.
From August 2001 to September 2004, Garrett cleared land for APCO through his company, Clearmore Construction, which had a $3 million contract. Garrett allegedly conspired with an APCO employee to inflate invoices by $250,000 in exchange for $60,000 in kickbacks.
He now faces up to five years in federal prison and fines up to $250,000.
Advice: Inflating vendor invoices is a tempting scheme for many accounts payable clerks. Guard your company’s finances by requiring two signatures on every check and scrutinizing vendor invoices. No employee should have check-writing authority without at least one layer of oversight.