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Businessman stole $3 million to keep his company going, lawyer says

| Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, 11:45 a.m.

A Whitehall businessman stole nearly $3 million from 10 companies between 1997 and 2010 to keep his failing company afloat, his lawyer said Thursday in federal court.

Paul Kay, the lawyer for Ronald A. Moog, 78, said his client's business problems don't justify the thefts but he's different from white-collar criminals who embezzle money to support gambling habits or live lavish lifestyles.

“His business fell on hard times,” Kay said. “He made decisions that he regrets and that he owned up to today.”

Moog pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud. He was president and majority shareholder of Moog Trans Financial Services Inc., a company that collected and audited shipping invoices for companies and then handled their freight shipping bills.

Moog diverted customers' money from a trust account, leaving their bills unpaid, and then used deposits to cover overdue bills to hide the thefts, said Assistant U.S. Attorney James Kitchen. The scheme unraveled in 2010 when Moog was unable to cover the unpaid bills, he said.

U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer scheduled Moog's sentencing for April 4. He remains free on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

He declined to comment after the hearing.

Kay said Moog's company went out of business in 2010.

Kay and Kitchen agree that federal sentencing guidelines probably will recommend a sentence of 5 years, 3 months to 6 years, 6 months in prison. Kay said he thinks Moog's case is exceptional enough to argue for a sentence that doesn't include prison.

The companies Moog stole from include Mine Safety Appliances, which lost about $1.5 million, JENNMAR, which lost about $1 million, and Traco, which lost about $195,000.

Brian Bowling is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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