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 is facing nearly 20 felony charges in Malheur County after allegedly embezzling $70,000 from the company’s Ontario and Weiser facilities is now also facing 13 federal charges.

Douglas Wold, 48, of Meridian was arraigned on Sept. 14 on on 11 counts of wire fraud, one count each of mail fraud and money laundering, according to an announcement on Wednesday afternoon from the office of Idaho District U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis. Wold was indicted on the charges Sept. 10 by a federal grand jury.

The Malheur County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation after receiving a tip about Wold’s possible criminal activities which led to his arrest on Aug. 19. 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.

According to Malheur County District Attorney David Goldthorpe, he wouldn’t be able to go after Wold for the purchase of the boat because it was purchased in Idaho.

“I have no reason to believe he acquired any property in Oregon,” he said during a phone interview this morning. “It is impossible to try to figure out if the money was spent and you can’t find it.”

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.

The mail fraud count and each of the wire fraud counts carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release, according to Davis. The money laundering charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and also carries a maximum fine of up to $20,000, as well as up to three years of supervised release.

Wold is also still facing the initial charges he was arraigned on in Malheur County. As to whether those charges might eventually be dropped, Goldthorpe said it would depend on whether the federal government was able to give the “proper measure of justice” to Wold, such as a longer sentence.

“You have to weigh what it’s worth,” he said, adding that federal prosecutors have their own guidelines when it comes to sentencing, and those don’t always equate to someone getting the maximum charge.

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

Wold’s federal trial is scheduled for Nov. 2 at the federal courthouse in Boise.

A plea hearing is scheduled in Malheur County on Dec. 2 for the charges faced here, which include three counts of first degree aggravated theft, three counts of aggravated identity theft, three counts of first degree theft, three counts of identity theft, two counts of attempting to commit a class B felony, one count of first degree aggravated theft, and four counts of first degree forgery.

On Aug. 21, 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.

Load comments