Greensburg businessman gets 2 years for bogus SBA-backed loan
A federal judge on Monday sentenced a Greensburg businessman to two years in prison for defrauding the Small Business Administration on a $1 million loan and a White Oak investor on a $400,000 loan.
Thomas Kemerer, 65, pleaded guilty in April to one count of wire fraud. Co-defendant James “Mick” Conde, 65, of Harrison City pleaded guilty to the same charge in May and is scheduled to be sentenced April 5.
Kemerer and Conde operated Precision Powder Coating and Graphics in Jeannette. They told Sky Bank, which provided the SBA-backed loan, and the private investor that they would use the $1.4 million to buy equipment when they used it for personal and living expenses, prosecutors said.
Conde and Kemerer used bogus documents to secure a $1 million loan from Sky Bank and another loan of $400,000 from private investor Wayne King of White Oak.
The scheme ran from 2002 to 2003, according to the indictment. Conde and Kemerer established Precision Powder Coating & Graphics in Jeannette in 2002, and it went out of business in 2005.
The company was going to powder coat and etch metal parts for vehicles and equipment. Conde served as president, and Kemerer was chief financial officer.
The company defaulted on the Sky Bank loan, which was guaranteed by the Small Business Administration, and the company never repaid King.
King wrote sentencing Judge Nora Barry Fischer demanding the sentence include repayment of the money.
“They liked to get money from me. They made false invoices. ... They paid themselves the money,” King complained.
Conde, who restores vintage cars, claimed to have vehicles and a stockpile of parts valued at $750,000 as collateral for the loan, but federal officials said those amounts were false.
In another instance, the grand jury alleges, Conde and Kemerer made up a document indicating they paid $300,000 to Industrial Finishing Systems for equipment when, in fact, no payment was made.
Kemerer took an unknown person to a notary to pose as president of Industrial Finishing Systems to verify that Kemerer had made the payment, according to the indictment.
The two men created false invoices that they submitted to the bank and other bogus documents to purchase forklifts, it said.
A key witness in the case was another Jeannette businessman, Frank Trigona, who testified before the grand jury under a grant of immunity. Trigona provided blank invoices to the pair, according to court documents.
Trigona owns the Penn Avenue building where PP&G was located.
Conde and Kemerer filed for bankruptcy in 2005. A bankruptcy judge questioned the accuracy of their financial statements.
When Conde applied for the SBA loan through Sky Bank, he listed $2.8 million in assets and $328,000 in liabilities, according to court records.
His bankruptcy petition listed $31,000 in assets and more than $1.5 million in liabilities. The judge noted Conde's financial records were so sloppy that it was impossible to trace their history.
Fischer also sentenced Kemerer to three years of probation and ordered him to pay about $1.8 million in restitution.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Westmoreland County on pace to surpass record for drug-related fatalities
- Greensburg woman has a lifetime of hosting foreign exchange students
- Westmoreland judicial candidates spent more than $1.2 million for primary election
- Westmoreland Cultural Trust moves to next phase of Palace capital campaign
- More than 120,000 attend Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival
- New Derry to celebrate its 200th birthday
- Initials carved into pig in Georges Township
- Murrysville home damaged in blaze
- Hempfield woman donates music inspired by WWI ‘doughnut girls’
- Hempfield bicyclist gets one last chance from Westmoreland County judge
- State Supreme Court rejects latest Foxley Farm appeal in Ligonier Township dispute