Friday, May 24, 2024

Catawba County business owner makes $1 million of fraudulent charges on credit cards

A Granite Falls man pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to charges related to making almost $1 million in credit card charges on the accounts of customers of his multiple cabinet companies in the Hickory area.

James Christopher Robinson, 51, also pleaded guilty to tax fraud in addition to credit card fraud.

Robinson was the owner of multiple cabinet manufacturing and retail businesses in the Hickory area, including Cabinet Solutions USA, Best Cabinet Doors, Cabinet Doors Fast and  Cox Manufacturing, according to court records and Wednesday’s hearing.

Robinson admitted that between March 2020 and April 2023 he accessed the credit cards of customers to his cabinet companies without authorization and made 294 fraudulent credit card charges totaling approximately $1 million. Robinson also created at least four counterfeit checks totaling more than $93,000, using information from actual checks written to his cabinet companies by customers, according to court records.

Plea documents also show that for the tax years 2017 to 2022, Robinson caused two of his companies to fail to comply with their employment tax obligations by failing to timely account for and pay more than $3.1 million in employment taxes. Court documents indicate that Robinson used the stolen funds to make large cash withdrawals from his business accounts and make hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash deposits at casinos.

Robinson pleaded guilty to access device fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, and failure to truthfully account for and pay over trust fund taxes, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Robinson was released on bond while awaiting a sentencing date that has not yet been set. Attempts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.

Cox Manufacturing had operated for more than 90 years before abruptly closing last year, according to a report in Furniture Today. Robinson had taken over the company in 2021.

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