On Friday, it was announced that three defendants were sentenced for their roles in a multi-million dollar conspiracy. 30-year-old Justin Pennington, 54-year-old Marcelene M. Keesbury, and 50-year-old Charles M. French were all sentenced to imprisonment. Pennington was sentenced to five years and five months in federal prison. Keesbury and French were sentenced to three years and five months imprisonment. Pennington was found guilty by a federal jury in April of 2017. Keesbury and French pled guilty to the charges in October of 2016.
Evidence presented at trial showed that Pennington was employed as an Information Technology Director at The Wholesale House, which is an Ohio-based company with offices in Jacksonville. Pennington and his co-conspirators created a fraudulent company, 3 Kings LLC. The fraudulent company was incorporated in Delaware and was used as a way to hide the identity of the owners who bought goods from The Wholesale House and resold the products to retailers and consumers.
3 Kings illegally competed with The Wholesale House’s customers and caused significant financial difficulties for the company’s legitimate customers. In total, 3 Kings purchased roughly $40 million worth of products from The Wholesale House, but never paid its bills in full. Pennington and his co-conspirators spend tens of thousands of dollars and Pennington incurred credit card balances of up to $100,000 per month.
At trial, Keesbury and French testified that Pennington masterminded the scheme. Owners of The Wholesale House testified that they had infused more than $7 million into the company to guarantee its survival and to protect jobs. Additional details can be found here.