Dereck Cyrus and Chuck Sandford have been arraigned on conspiracy and mail fraud charges for running a false invoicing scheme that caused the restaurant chain Panda Express to send them over a million dollars in fraudulent payments.
“These defendants allegedly used a false invoicing scheme to line their own pockets,” said U. S. Attorney John Horn. “Businesses should carefully vet vendors that they do business with to make sure they do not fall victim to these schemes.”
“Corporate based fraud schemes do have victims and those victims feel its impact. The federal grand jury indictment and resulting arrests in this matter clearly illustrates the FBI’s commitment toward providing an avenue of relief to companies being targeted by these types of fraud schemes,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges, and other information presented in court: Cyrus and Sandford both owned companies that provided recruitment services to corporations. Cyrus’s company was named “Diversified Recruiters,” and Sandford’s recruitment company was named “Chuck Sandford Consultants” (CSC). Cyrus also worked as an in-house recruiter for Panda Express in 2012 and early 2013.
Beginning in about January 2013, Cyrus and Sandford allegedly submitted fraudulent Diversified Recruiters and CSC invoices to the Panda Express accounts payable department that falsely claimed that they had found qualified job candidates for positions at Panda Express restaurants throughout the United States. In actuality, the vast majority of the job candidates were either fictitious or had never been recruited by Cyrus or Sandford. Based upon these misrepresentations, the accounts payable department issued payments to Diversified Recruiters and CSC, which Cyrus and Sandford used for their own personal benefit.
After Cyrus stopped working for Panda Express in March 2013, he allegedly continued to send fraudulent Diversified Recruiters and CSC invoices to the accounts payable department, falsely claiming he was still a company employee. Sandford also allegedly paid Cyrus a kickback after the accounts payable department issued payments for the fraudulent CSC invoices. All told, Cyrus and Sandford allegedly netted well over one million dollars during the course of this scheme.
Dereck Cyrus, 52, of Lithonia, Georgia, Chuck Sandford, 74, of Marietta, Georgia, were arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman.