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Granger man sentenced to prison, ordered to pay $1.6M restitution

A Granger man was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1,666,721 in restitution for devising a scheme to defraud his former employer, according to federal court records.

James Cotton, 58, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in early 2019.

He admitted to creating five businesses that didn't have any employees and did not engage in legitimate business activity, then submitted fake invoices from the companies to his employer for payment, court records say.

Cotton approved the invoices on behalf of his employer and received checks for each invoice, reports said.

The money was deposited in bank accounts opened in the names of the businesses and withdrew the money for his own use, reports said.

“The amount of Mr. Cotton’s fraud is staggering, with over $1.6 million in loss to his employer. With the great work of the FBI, we were able to bring this case to a successful conclusion with an order of restitution and significant jail time,” said U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II.

"We expect the people we work with to be honest and trustworthy, but Mr. Cotton chose to betray his employer’s trust for his own financial gain,” said Grant Mendenhall, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate cases such as this to ensure those who take advantage of others through illegal and criminal behavior are held accountable.”

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