Crime & Courts

Charlotte man pleads guilty in warranty claim scheme

The owner of several Charlotte-area appliance repair companies pleaded guilty Wednesday to wire fraud and filing a false tax return in a case that involved $576,000 in false work order claims, acting U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose announced.

John Wesley Clark, 42, of Charlotte, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Cayer and admitted to submitting the false claims between 2010 through 2012 to a major electronics company based in New Jersey. The claims resulted in payments of $576,000 for work that was never performed, prosecutors said.

Clark owned and operated JA Appliance Co.; Fitzgerald Appliance Co.; BR Appliance; C&A Appliance Co.; D&L Appliance Co.; and J&S Appliance Co., court records show.

Clark, sometimes using an alias, established his companies as authorized service centers for the major electronics company, according to court records. He then submitted fraudulent warranty work orders that listed, among other things, false customer information, false addresses, false part numbers and false repair dates, prosecutors said.

For tax years 2010 through 2012, Clark failed to report all of the income he obtained through the false claims on his federal tax returns, prosecutors said. Clark also filed fraudulent W-2 forms with his federal tax returns that falsely stated that tax withholding had been paid over to the IRS, records show.

The wire fraud charge carries a maximum 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The filing a false tax return charge carries a maximum three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

As part of Wednesday’s plea agreement, Clark agreed to pay restitution, the amount of which will be determined by the judge at Clark’s sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

Clark was released on bond after his plea hearing.

Marusak: 704-358-5067;

Twitter: @jmarusak