Witman sentenced for wire fraud, money laundering

Bart A. Witsman, 40, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, former Chief Financial Officer of Vermeer (Tennessee), Inc., was sentenced on Sept. 21, 2015, by United States District Court Judge Todd J. Campbell, to 44 months in prison, to be followed by a three year term of supervised release, for operating a fraudulent equipment leasing scheme that defrauded financial lending corporations of more than $1.6 million. Witsman was also ordered to pay restitution of more than $1.6 million.

Witsman pleaded guilty Sept. 8, 2014, to seven counts of wire fraud and five counts of money laundering.

Vermeer (Tennessee) specialized in the leasing, renting, servicing and selling of heavy construction-type machinery, and operated several stores in Tennessee, with the main store located in Murfreesboro. Between November 2007 and March 31, 2009, Witsman devised a scheme to defraud and to obtain money from Citicapital and Central Leasing by causing Vermeer (Tennessee) to purchase equipment from various manufacturers, and sell the equipment for a profit. Witsman then obtained loans from Citicapital or Central Leasing on behalf of Vermeer (Tennessee) in the amount of the original purchase price of the equipment that had already been sold. Witsman then used the equipment as collateral for the loans and deceived Citicapital and Central Leasing into believing that the equipment was still in the custody and control of Vermeer of Tennessee.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the IRS-Criminal Investigation. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra G. Moses.

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