Easley man found guilty in Griffin Thermal fraud

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509

Exceeding $800,000

Acting United States Attorney Beth Drake recently announced that Richard Elmer Sundblad, 65, of Easley, was found guilty in federal court in Greenville, for aiding and abetting a scheme and artifice to defraud by use of the mails, a violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 2. United States District Judge J. Michelle Childs, of Columbia presided over the trial and will impose sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the trial established that Richard Sundblad’s wife Retta worked as the purchasing manager for Griffin Thermal Products (“GTP”), a Greenville County business that manufactures high-end, custom-made radiators.

Retta Sundblad has pled guilty and is awaiting sentencing. During an internal audit in December 2014, GTP determined that beginning in or around 2012 a large number of invoices had been submitted to GTP by a business named Upstate Industrial Services, LLC (“Upstate Industrial”).

GTP discovered that Upstate Industrial had never provided any products or services and that the Upstate Industrial invoices were fictitious.

A template for Upstate Industrial invoices was found on the work computer of Retta Sundblad. An investigation revealed that Upstate Industrial was formed by Richard Sundblad and that he deposited numerous GTP checks into a bank account that he and his wife controlled. The stolen money enabled the Sundblads to purchase cars, a motor coach, and to generally live a lavish lifestyle.

The loss to GTP from the scheme exceeds $800,000.

Drake stated the maximum penalty the Sundblads can receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for 20 years, plus a special assessment of $100.

The case was investigated by agents of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and the United Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office prosecuted the case.