Tomball Business Executive Convicted in $13 Million False Invoicing Scheme
John Blake Tinkle, 60, of Tomball, admitted today that from 2008 through 2015, he falsely invoiced Houston-based Westlake Chemical Corporation for approximately $13 million in shipping supplies that TMI never delivered.
“For seven years, this defendant cheated local companies out of millions of dollars, using false invoices and fraudulent financing,” said Magidson. “Thanks to the hard work of the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation, his scheme was detected and ended. We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute corporate fraud, both in the energy industry and across our community.”
TMI was Westlake’s supplier of plastic shipping bags that Westlake used to ship its chemical products internationally. TMI delivered the shipping bags to Packwell Inc., a packaging and logistics company in La Porte. Packwell then used the bags to package Westlake’s chemical products and ship those products through the Houston ship channel. In addition to invoicing Westlake for bags that had actually been delivered, Tinkle submitted false invoices to Westlake for deliveries of bags to Packwell that, in reality, had not occurred.
Tinkle supported his false invoices to Westlake by attaching Packwell receiving reports Tinkle doctored to purportedly show the undelivered bags had actually been received by Packwell. To obtain financing, Tinkle then caused the fraudulent invoices to be presented to Charter Capital, a Houston factoring company, that relied on the invoices in providing funding to TMI. Westlake and Charter Capital paid TMI millions of dollars based on deliveries that never occurred.
U.S. District Judge Alfred Bennett accepted the plea today and has set sentencing for Dec. 8, 2016. At that time, Tinkle faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the wire fraud and 10 years for money laundering. He could also be ordered to pay a $250,000 fine. He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
The FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Johnson is prosecuting the case.