Former head of HR at Fry Foods now facing federal charges, too

This photo from May of 2015 shows the Fry Foods sign at its processing plant in Ontario. 

ONTARIO

The former head of human resources of Fry Foods who was facing nearly 20 felony charges in Malheur County after allegedly embezzling $70,000 from the company’s Ontario and Weiser facilities and 13 federal charges, has pleaded guilty to some of those charges.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney — District of Idaho’s office on Tuesday, Douglas Wold pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering based on his schemes to defraud his employer “during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Wire fraud and mail fraud carry a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release. The penalty for money laundering is up to 10 years in federal prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release.

Wold’s sentencing is set for Aug. 27 at the federal courthouse in Boise.

Currently, he still faces charges in Malheur County, which carry a warrant to bring him back to deal with those charges. However, Malheur County District Attorney David Goldthorpe said that he is awaiting the federal sentencing to make a decision on whether he feels those charges are the “proper measure of justice,” or to continue pursuing the charges on behalf of the state of Oregon.

Wold, of Meridian was arraigned on Sept. 14, 2020, on 11 counts of wire fraud, one count each of mail fraud and money laundering, after being indicted on the charges Sept. 10 by a federal grand jury.

What we know

A tip turned into to an investigation by the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, which lead to Wold’s arrest on Aug. 19, 2020.

Wold allegedly created fictitious employees for payroll payments, causing payroll payments for employees who had quit or were terminated and even went so far as to create a fictitious health company he named “Hala Lallo” to intercept a payment for COVID-19 antibody testing. In the Oregon investigation, lead by Detective Dan Perkins, the Sheriff’s Office found that if Wold — a felon on parole from Idaho — had cashed the last round of checks, the total of thefts would be over $100,000. They say nearly $40,000 of that was gained through his fictitious company, when Wold allegedly turned in an invoice for $39,995 to Fry Foods for the testing and that invoice was paid in full.

The wire fraud and mail fraud federal charges stem from the same activity that Wold faces charges for in Malheur County, including allegedly depositing funds into bank accounts in his control that were obtained through fraudulent payroll checks as well as a fraudulent invoice for COVID testing.

The money laundering charge he faces by the federal government has to do with him allegedly transferring $69,116 in proceeds from his frauds to purchase a speedboat and trailer.

Goldthorpe previously stated he wouldn’t be able to go after Wold for the purchase of the boat because that happened in Idaho.

The federal government would have the best chance of recovering money for the victims in this regard, Goldthrope said, adding that with the boat being in Idaho, the process would be “much more efficient” in the federal system.

It is unclear when the federal investigation began, but the Criminal Investigation unit of the Internal Revenue Service was involved with that.

Three days after his arrest, Wold posted $10,000 and was released from Malheur County with the condition that he have no contact with Fry Foods.

Idaho Department of Correction records show that Wold is on parole in Ada County for arson in the first degree and two counts of grand theft, having been released to supervised parole on March 11, 2016.

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