published Monday, April 8th, 2013

Loudon, Tenn., man pleads guilty in sign company scam

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A 54-year-old Loudon, Tenn., man pleaded guilty Thursday to mail fraud and money laundering violations, a news release states.

Sentencing for Jeffery Bryant Nichols is set for June 18 in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, according to the release from the office of U.S. Attorney Bill Killian.

Nichols faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for the mail fraud and 10 years in prison for the money laundering.

The release states Nichols was working with Architectural Graphics Incorporated, a Virginia Beach, Va.,-based company that designs and manufactures architectural interior and exterior sign systems. Working as a project manager, Nichols conspired with another employee to create a fictitious company known as Outdoor Graphic Displays. That company was created solely to defraud AGI by generating fictitious subcontracting invoices and submitting them to AGI for payment, the release states. Between August 2005 and June 2007, 11 fraudulent invoices totaling $359,575 were submitted to AGI from Outdoor Graphic Displays, records show.

Nichols was indicted in February 2012 by a federal grand jury in Knoxville.

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