FORT WAYNE – A 40-year-old Fort Wayne man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court this week to a single count of wire fraud, admitting to conning money from a number of employers by claiming to be a deployed member of the military.
In May 2012, a federal grand jury in Fort Wayne handed down a six-count indictment against Jerome P. Burney, accusing him of wire fraud and mail fraud.
Burney applied for jobs at area companies that provided military pay differential policies.
Those policies offered employees who were deployed with the Army National Guard or other branches of the service an amount of money equal to the difference in their base rate of pay at their employer and the amount of money they would be paid by the military during their deployment, according to court documents.
Burney would then fax military deployment orders to his employers, saying he would be away from his job beginning on a certain date and continuing for up to a year, with the possibility that the deployment could be extended for an additional year, according to court documents.
He also told his employers he had some military training from time to time that would also require he be away from his job and he would again be provided with the differential pay, according to court documents.
From May 2004 to August 2008, Burney collected $363,878 in pay based on those fraudulent claims.
As part of his plea agreement, Burney must make restitution to a number of companies, including Cargill, Caterpillar, Unilever, Lincoln, Dana Driveshaft and Red Gold, according to court documents.