Paul Patrick Piper faces federal bank fraud and tax charges
Date: February 21, 2020
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Paul Patrick Piper of Ludington, Michigan was charged with bank fraud and federal income tax offenses today in a felony information filed in the United States District Court in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
According to the felony information, Piper served for many years as the financial controller for Lake Michigan Carferry, the company operating the SS Badger ferry between Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. As detailed in the felony information, Piper defrauded various financial institutions and the company in an amount of at least $550,000.00, by overriding normal accounting systems and writing checks directly to himself and to two of his affiliated businesses, Piper Tax & Accounting and Piper Group. Piper either forged the signatures of company owners on these checks or used a signature stamp without the authorization of the owners. Piper hid these transactions in the accounting system by booking these checks to an insurance expense code and by otherwise making false entries to balance company accounts. Additionally, Piper filed false personal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service because he knowingly failed to include the income he stole from the Carferry, and other income earned from his tax business, on his federal income tax returns.
If convicted, Piper faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years for the bank fraud offense and a maximum term of imprisonment of 3 years for filing a false tax return. Piper will also be ordered to pay restitution to his victims and to forfeit certain assets obtained with the proceeds of his criminal offenses.
The charges in a felony information are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.