Former Spectrum employee pleads guilty to embezzling $280K in false checks

Former Spectrum employee pleads guilty to embezzling $280K in false checks

A former employee of Spectrum Brands pleaded guilty Tuesday to mail fraud, money laundering and identity theft, according to release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Shonn Northam, 47, of Briggsville, faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the mail fraud and money laundering charges , and a mandatory consecutive two years in prison on the aggravated identity theft charge, officials said.

Northam was indicted Aug. 2 for using his position as a customer service representative at Spectrum Brands to embezzle money by submitting false warranty claims and Spectrum issued checks based on those false warrant claims, according to the release. Northam worked as a customer service representative from February 2013 to November 2014.

Northam falsely claimed the check payees were warranty claim customers with defective Spectrum products that caused damages or injury to the customers, officials said. Northam used a portion of the fraud money to fund U.S. Proud, an organization he started in 2013 that hosted beauty pageants for the LGBT community.

Northam also misused the identities and addresses of friends, family members and U.S. Proud beauty pageant participants to generate false warranty claim checks for himself, according to the release. He forged the endorsements and then deposited the checks into bank accounts under his control.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Northam admitted he created false warranty claims as a way to embezzle money from Spectrum, according to the release. He admitted to taking $280,644 from Spectrum and misusing the identities of other persons in order to generate the false warrant claim checks.

Northam is scheduled to be sentenced April 3.