Crime & Courts

Executive with SC ties stole $25m, Feds say. That’s not exactly why he heads to jail

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Bryan Bower was making good money. Really good money. He was making it illegally, federal officials said.

On Friday, the United States Attorney General Office in South Carolina announced that Bower was sentenced to over three years in federal prison after he took millions from the company where he was a leader.

Bower, formerly of Lake Wylie, South Carolina, was an executive with Buckeye Fire Equipment, according to a statement from the federal prosecutors. The company, based in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, sells fire extinguishers and gas detectors. Bower embezzled tens of millions from the company he, in part, led, according to authorities.

The U.S. attorney’s office said Bower diverted over $25 million in customer payments directly into his personal bank accounts from 2010 to 2013. But stealing from the company wasn’t what landed him in federal prison.

Instead, Bower pleaded guilty to tax evasion. He failed to pay over $9 million in income taxes on his stolen money, according to prosecutors. With the guilty plea, Bower will spend 41 months in federal prison with no parole.

“Mr. Bower’s embezzlement scheme to steal from his employer while also deliberately under reporting his embezzlement income on his federal tax returns was motivated by greed,” said Matthew D. Line, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Charlotte Field Office. “Today’s sentencing is a reminder that there are detrimental consequences for this type of criminal behavior. IRS Criminal Investigation will continue our work to bring justice to those that abuse their positions of trust and steal from innocent victims.”

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