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Scott Whitehead entered a guilty plea Monday to federal charges of defrauding Vermeer Corporation of more than $3.6 million.

Whitehead faces up to 40 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. He also is ordered to pay restitution of $3,669,217. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 10.

Whitehead admitted to conspiring to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in a plea agreement filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Des Moines.

It states that Whitehead, while working as a Vermeer maintenance manager between June 2011 and July 2017, approved 3,310 invoices totaling $3.1 million for a degreasing product from All Industrial Chemical of Hallandale Beach, Florida. The invoices said the product was shipped, but Vermeer never received it.

Whitehead was aware that the product was neither shipped nor received, the plea says. He received at least $113,050 in kickbacks from the chemical company. He had an agreement with people acting on behalf of the company, including Natalia Sheps, to defraud Vermeer. The scheme used the U.S. Postal Service, overnight delivery services and interstate wires.

Between May 2016 and July 2017, National Chemical Products Corp. of Davie, Florida, submitted invoices to Vermeer for absorbent pads and other supplies, when nothing was shipped. Whitehead approved more than 100 invoices, totaling $506,523.

Whitehead received kickbacks of $34,300 from National Chemical. He conspired with people acting on behalf of that company, including Ana Hallon Gallego, to defraud Vermeer and receive the kickbacks. This scheme also used the U.S. Postal Service, overnight delivery services and interstate wires.

Whitehead didn’t tell Vermeer about the kickbacks and used them for his own expenses and benefit, the plea agreement states.

The government will recommend that Whitehead receive credit for accepting responsibility for his crimes, the agreement states, but it adds that there are no guarantees U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose will cut him any slack.

The agreement also states that the restitution amount does not resolve claims that Vermeer may have against Whitehead, and that it still can pursue civil action against him.

Pat Finan is the editor of the Knoxville Journal-Express and Pella Chronicle. He can be reached at 641-295-0624 or via email at editor@journalexpress.net or editor@pellachronicle.com

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