Pere Marquette man accused of bank fraud, tax offenses.

February 21, 2020

Pere Marquette man accused of bank fraud, tax offenses.

GRAND RAPIDS — Paul Patrick Piper, 57, of Pere Marquette Township, was charged today in federal court for felony bank fraud and federal income tax offenses.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Michigan, Piper served for many years as the financial controller for Lake Michigan Carferry, owner of the S.S. Badger carferry. Piper allegedly defrauded various financial institutions and LMC in the amount of at least $550,000 by overriding normal accounting systems and writing checks directly to himself and to two of his affiliated company owners on the checks, or used a signature stamp without the authorization of the owners of LMC.

He allegedly hid the transactions in the account system by booking the checks to an insurance expense code and by otherwise making false entries to balance company accounts.

Additionally, he is being accused of filing false personal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service because he supposedly knowingly failed to include the income he allegedly stole from LMC, and other income earned from his tax business, Piper Accounting and Taxes, on his federal income tax returns.

Mason County Sheriff’s Office deputies and detectives, along with special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Piper’s business on Pere Marquette Highway in September 2018.

The charges are felonies punishable by imprisonment up to 30 years for bank fraud and up to three years for filing a false tax return. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he will also be ordered to pay restitution to his victims and to forfeit certain assets obtained with the proceeds of the offenses, if convicted.

Piper also serves as an elected member of the Pere Marquette Charter Township board of trustees.

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