Greenwood man sentenced for $2.7 million embezzlement scheme

A Greenwood man has been sentenced to more than three years in prison and ordered to pay back more than $3 million after he pleaded guilty in a federal fraud case that involved embezzling money from a construction firm, court documents said.

Troy L. Sissom, 53, was sentenced to 41 months in prison this week. Federal attorneys said he committed fraud and filed false tax returns during a 12-year period. He could have faced up to 20 years in prison.

In 2003, three years after starting work as a project manager for Indianapolis company F. A. Wilhelm Construction Co., Sissom created a fictitious company and set up a mailbox for it. During the next 12 years, he created 185 false invoices from his company and collected payment from Wilhelm, according to court documents.

The invoices were for construction materials for projects that Wilhelm was supervising for the company. His job for Wilhelm required him to create estimates for jobs, oversee the financial aspects of construction projects and approve material purchases, the court documents said.

When Wilhelm paid the false invoices, Sissom used the money for personal use, the documents said. The fraud cost the company $2.7 million, and the IRS should have been paid $381,000 in taxes.

“Internal theft costs all consumers through higher prices on goods and services,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Josh Minkler said in a news release. “Fraud, tax evasion and other white collar crimes are offenses which ultimately take money out of the pockets of hardworking Hoosiers and such crimes will be aggressively prosecuted by this office.”

After Sissom is released from prison, he will be on supervised release for two years and have to pay back Wilhelm and pay the tax liability to the IRS, U.S. attorney James Warden said in a news release.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation division and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana.

“Protecting the public is a core function of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service,” Patricia Armstrong, acting inspector in charge of the Detroit division, said in the news release. “This case shows our diligence in pursuing criminal schemes and ruining a fraudster’s ability to continue them.”

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Michele Holtkamp is editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mholtkamp@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2774.