Tampa man sentenced to federal prison for embezzling nearly $850,000

TAMPA, Fla. - A Tampa man has been arrested and sentenced to four years in federal prison after he embezzled nearly $850,000.

U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven has sentenced Paul Wheeler, 34, of Tampa to four years in federal prison for wire fraud. The Court also ordered him to forfeit the $848,136.04, which is traceable to proceeds of the crime and to pay restitution to his victims.

According to testimony and court documents, Wheeler, a bookkeeper, embezzled from six different employers over the course of 15 years. He diverted nearly $850,000 from his various employers to bank accounts under his control. He subverted the internal controls of the companies to ultimately direct payments to himself. He also registered a number of fictitious names to conceal the diversions.

Wheeler used most of the money for online gambling, a release from the United States Department of Justice stated.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Tampa Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo.

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