A Parkland, Fla., man pleaded guilty this week to devising a scheme that "defrauded several companies involved in the sale of polymers, including one in Northeast Ohio, and multiple logistic companies, causing losses of more than $4.1 million," according to information provided by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The government said that from July 2013 to January 2020, Terrence Anderson, 66, "devised a scheme to steal shipments of polymers from businesses involved in the sale of the chemicals. The scheme was achieved, in part, by fraudulently obtaining services from logistic companies involved in processing rail shipments."
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio wrote in an email that the government cannot disclose the name of the Ohio business, because that information is not listed in court documents. The documents do, however, indicate that the company is headquartered in Avon Lake and is "involved in the sale of polymers, including polyethylene, throughout the world."
Here's how it worked, according to the Justice Department:
Court documents show that Anderson owned and operated Coral Polymers, a corporation headquartered in Parkland that bought and resold polymers. As part of the scheme, Anderson would pose as fictional employees of well-known large corporations and contact sellers of polymers, including the company in Northeast Ohio, to facilitate large purchases of the substances, which were to be delivered by rail car to victim logistics companies at particular locations.
Contrary to his representations, court documents state that Anderson never intended to pay for the polymers but rather sought to resell them to third-party buyers. Court documents show that Anderson submitted purchase orders for shipments worth approximately $4,855,312 from at least eight sellers and obtained shipments worth more than $3.7 million from six of those sellers.
After ordering the polymers, the Justice Department said, Anderson "arranged for victim logistics companies to unload the rail cars, store the substances, repackage, and load them for shipment to their final destination." In addition, the Justice Department said, "court documents show that Anderson enlisted the services of a co-conspirator who owned a trucking company." Anderson and the co-conspirator "directed drivers picking up the shipments in semi-trailer trucks to remove or conceal vehicle license plates, provide fake identification documents if prompted, and to conceal from the logistics companies the true destinations of the deliveries."
The case was investigated by the Cleveland Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elliot Morrison.