ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — A Roanoke man who spent more than 30 years working at American Electric Power (AEP) pleaded guilty on Monday to wire fraud and filing false tax returns after being accused of stealing more than a million dollars from the company.
According to court documents, 63-year-old Gregory Thomas Holland was employed at AEP from 1982 until 2018, working for a number of years in the credit department.
More specifically, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) says Holland was responsible for managing AEP’s interests during customer bankruptcies, filing claims, and reducing debts.
On Monday, May 3, officials say Holland admitted to opening a personal checking account using AEP’s name and address — unbeknownst to anyone else at the company — in 2001.
Between May 2002 and January 2018, Holland said he deposited 300 checks into this account, written on behalf of AEP customers and made payable to AEP, according to the DOJ.
Even though all the money he deposited into the account belonged to AEP, Holland reportedly used the money for personal expenses, including dues at the Roanoke Country Club, car payments, clothing purchases, and more.
In addition, the department says Holland did not report any of this additional income on his Form 1040 Individual Income Tax Returns for tax years 2011 through 2017.
Officials estimate Holland stole $1.6 million from AEP overall, but the court will determine the exact loss at Holland’s sentencing hearing.
According to the DOJ, Holland pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of willfully filing a false tax return on Monday.
Holland faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he returns to court for his sentencing on Sept. 10, the department says.
The U.S. Secret Service, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, and Virginia State Police are reportedly investigating the case, which is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Baudinet.