LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – A Denver man has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison and two years of supervised release for defrauding his former employer of more than $4 million, according to the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
Court records and plea documents state from June 2019 to May 2020, Michael Guzman, 43, executed a scheme to defraud his employer, identified in documents as Company A, of more than $4 million, by improperly auctioning off the company’s assets and funneling proceeds through ‘shell companies.’
Authorities said Company A is a large equipment rental company headquartered in Fort Mill, S.C., that rents out on-road and off-road machinery for construction and other purposes.
Guzman worked for Company A as a Fleet Operations Manager, and was responsible for, among other things, the disposal of aged equipment, also known as assets, authorities said.
Court records show that, during the relevant time period, Guzman arranged for about 398 assets of Company A to be auctioned off through an online auction house that buys and sells used heavy construction equipment.
To perpetuate the fraud, authorities said Guzman represented to the auction house that the assets were owned by Guzman’s ‘shell companies,’ when in fact the majority of the assets were owned by Company A.
In his capacity as a Fleet Operations Manager, Guzman was able to hide the scheme from Company A by manipulating internal company records, court documents state.
According to filed court documents, Guzman arranged for the proceeds of the sales to be sent to a bank account under his control and used the money to buy a condominium in South Carolina, a plot of land in New York, an RV vehicle, a boat, and multiple cars and trucks.
On May 20, 2021, Guzman pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering. He will be ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons upon to begin serving his sentence designation of a federal facility.