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Former Honda employee pleads guilty to defrauding company out of $750,000

The Department of Justice's Southern District of Ohio says 62-year-old Charles Stratton entered a guilty plea on Wednesday to charges of wire fraud and money laundering.
In this Feb. 14, 2019, photo, this photo shows the Honda logo on a sign at the 2019 Pittsburgh International Auto Show in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A former Honda employee has pleaded guilty to defrauding the company out of several thousand dollars.

The U.S. Attorney's office said 62-year-old Charles Stratton entered a guilty plea on Wednesday to charges of wire fraud and money laundering.

The U.S. Attorney's Office office said Stratton defrauded the company out of more than $750,000.

Authorities say Stratton worked as the facilities manager for Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. in Marysville, from 2008 until March 2015. In his position, he supervised various vendor contracts, including those for security services, janitorial services, food service and uniform/laundry on behalf of Honda.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Stratton executed a scheme to defraud Honda by creating multiple purchase orders for payments in amounts just under $100,000. Stratton defrauded at least three Honda vendors by soliciting donations to a non-profit organization he created called Springfield Area Fastball Elites, Inc., also known as SAFE.

Stratton was given multiple donation checks, which he would either place in part into the SAFE bank account, while keeping a part of the donation in cash for himself, or put the full donation check into his personal account, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

The U.S. Attorney's office said only part of the donated funds were actually spent to further SAFE’s mission.

A grand jury indicted Stratton in May of last year.

A conviction on the wire fraud charge can be punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The money laundering count can result in a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

As part of a plea deal, Stratton agreed to pay $750,635.95 in restitution to Honda, and $10,000 in restitution to another company.