Utah man sentenced to 21 months in prison for defrauding Montana employer, $700,000 restitution ordered


Date: May 13, 2024

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

HELENA — A Utah man who admitted embezzling approximately $700,000 from a Montana company was sentenced today to 21 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $700,000 restitution, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

The defendant, Thomas Lynn Syddall of American Fork, Utah, who worked for a company owned by Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co., pleaded guilty in October 2023 to wire fraud and to money laundering-concealment as charged in an indictment.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.

“For more than a year, Syddall stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from his employer through a calculated scheme using fictitious purchasing orders and invoices. Syddall’s conduct violated the trust of his employer for his own personal enrichment, which now makes him a federal felon. Our office, working with our law enforcement partners, will remain committed to holding white collar criminals accountable,” U.S. Attorney Laslovich said.

“IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) enforces the nation’s tax laws, but we also assist our federal law enforcement partners in these types of cases by following the money,” said Andy Tsui, Special Agent in Charge, Denver Field Office. “Our special agent’s ability to unravel embezzlement and money laundering schemes is vital to these types of investigations, and we will continue to work with our partners to hold criminals accountable for their actions.”

In court documents, the government alleged that Syddall was a salesman for Information Technology Corporation, which was owned by Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co. From about March 2020 to about August 2021 in Helena, Syddall embezzled money through multiple means, including creating bogus purchase orders and invoices, stealing inventory and directing payments to fictitious companies and unauthorized vendors. Syddall then sold the inventory, none of which was authorized, on eBay and KSL Classifieds. When questioned by other employees about the discrepancies in orders and payments, Syddall sent lulling emails attempting to cover up and prolong the fraud. In addition, Syddall concealed financial transactions by laundering proceeds from the wire fraud into third-party accounts. Syddall then directed the transfer of the money into accounts over which he had control. The government identified approximately $700,000 in restitution.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon prosecuted the case. The FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation.

CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a more than a 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.