JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A St. Johns County man is facing an up to 200-year federal prison sentence after being found guilty of conspiracy and wire fraud.
The Department of Justice said Justin Pennington, 30, created a fraudulent company called 3 Kings, LLC while working as an information technology director at the Wholesale House, an Ohio-based company with offices in Jacksonville.
The DOJ said 3 Kings was incorporated in Delaware in an attempt to conceal the identity of the owners. Pennington and his alleged co-conspirators, using the 3 Kings company, purchased products from the Wholesale House at or near cost, then resold those products to consumers and retailers, illegally competing with the Wholesale House's customers, the DOJ said.
Officials said by competing with the Wholesale House's customers, 3 Kings caused significant financial difficulties for the customer's legitimate customers.
The DOJ said Pennington and his co-conspirators spent tens of thousands of dollars, while Pennington incurred credit card balances of up to $100,000 a month, while owing his employer millions of dollars.
Pennington's co-conspirators testified during his trial that he was the mastermind of the scheme, the DOJ said.
The Wholesale House owners also testified during the trial that they infused more than $7 million into the company to ensure its survival and to protect the jobs of the company's more-than 60 employees.
Pennington was found guilty of one count of conspiracy and nine counts of wire fraud. In addition to prison, Pennington faces a mandatory restitution of $5 million. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 2.