BECKLEY, W.Va. – Timothy Gross, 39, of Beckley, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud, admitting to making a fraudulent payment with an employer-issued credit card as part of a scheme to divert more than $65,000 in credit card charges to his personal bank account.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Gross was hired by Amerihost LLC in 2020 as a maintenance worker for Beckley Town Homes, a multi-unit apartment building in Beckley. Amerihost issued Gross a credit card for legitimate business purposes and not for personal use.
On April 5, 2020, Gross used his Amerihost-issued credit card to submit a $1,712 payment to “J and Sons Electrical and Plumbing.” Gross admitted that no work had been conducted to justify the payment, and that he created a fraudulent invoice that described the payment as being for eight circuit-breaker panel boxes. Gross further admitted that he opened an account for “J and Sons Electrical and Plumbing” on the Square payments platform to divert payments from the Amerihost-issued credit card for his personal use, and linked that Square account to his personal bank account.
On at least 38 separate occasions from at least January 1, 2020, until at least April 15, 2020, Gross used the Amerihost-issued credit card to send more than $65,000 in unauthorized, fraudulent payments to “J and Sons Electrical and Plumbing” for work that was not performed. Gross created false work invoices as part of his scheme.
Gross is scheduled to be sentenced on August 4, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Gross owes more than $65,000 in restitution.
United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Beckley Police Department.
United States District Judge Frank W. Volk presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Ryan Blackwell is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:22-cr-191.