The US Department of Justice announced that the former manager of a Hoquiam wood products company was convicted in U.S. District Court in Tacoma of thirteen federal felonies following a six-day jury trial.
68 year old Willis “Bill” Lonn, Jr. of Aberdeen was convicted of nine counts of mail fraud, two counts of income tax evasion, one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle has scheduled sentencing for January 9, 2017.
According to the Justice Department, Lonn worked as the manager of Long Beach Shavings Company, a company owned by family members in California. The company had a plant in Hoquiam where it processed wood shavings for use on farms, at horse shows or in pet stores.
Lonn had worked at the Hoquiam plant for about a decade when he launched a scheme to steal and sell the wood shavings products on the side, selling directly to customers without turning the proceeds over to the company.
As part of the scheme, Lonn would get free wood chips from a Montesano mill, but told his company that M&R Lumber needed to be paid for the shavings. Lonn ran M&R Lumber as a shadow company, creating fake invoices to bill LBS, keeping the money.
Lonn earned more than $1.3 million from LBS, without paying taxes on the money.
The Hoquiam Police Department started the investigation on the case, before being assisted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and IRS.