A Howards Grove man was arrested after allegedly embezzling more than $300,000 from his employer.
According to a criminal complaint, Niles R. Schreurs, 33, forged fraudulent merchandise returns and routed the money into a bank account solely in his name. His employer, WESCO, has a branch located in Sheboygan Falls and discovered the alleged embezzlement after conducting a financial audit in preparation for the sale of the branch location.
Police said Schreurs orchestrated 73 fraudulent merchandise returns totaling $343,285.
“The Defendant would fill out a return slip, indicating that [a customer] was returning merchandise that they purchased and needed to be refunded money,” however no exchange of merchandise ever occurred, the complaint states. “Instead, the Defendant completed the necessary paperwork to show that there was a return. Once the paperwork was completed, money was taken from Wesco’s return account and deposited onto a debit card,” the complaint alleges.
Schreurs was employed at Wesco as the Branch Operating Manager during the span of the alleged embezzlements, which date back to June 2018, according to court documents. As part of his position, police said Schreurs was in charge of all the branch financials and purchase orders.
Schreurs is being charged with theft from a business of over $100,000 and fraudulent writings, court records indicate. He faces up to 18 ½ years imprisonment and up to $35,000 in fines if found guilty of both felonies.
Police became involved Aug. 13 after a Wesco security investigator noticed Schreurs’ alleged rerouting of company funds to personal accounts. After making contact with the company, police said they learned Schreurs’ income totaled about $60,000 a year, but his lifestyle – documented on social media, according to police – seemed to exceed that amount.
Police said they viewed Facebook and noticed posts depicting high-value spending, including an expensive firearm, having artwork commissioned, and taking a trip to Universal Studios, all within the same time frame as the fraudulent returns at Wesco.
Police said Schreurs was contacted during the workday on Aug. 19. He was shown a bank account number, which police said he identified as his account. He proceeded to request an attorney, court documents said. He was then taken into custody. When contacted by police, Schreurs’ wife said she did not know anything about the investigation, that the defendant handles the finances, and she believed he earned about $120,000 a year based on their lifestyle. She said the defendant told her the approximately $8,000 trip to Belize for their honeymoon was paid by his savings over a long time, and that a trip to Universal Studios trip was a wedding present, according to police.
He worked at Wesco for five years, according to police. Wesco is a Fortune 500 electrical, communications, utility distribution and supply chain company that operates in 17 countries, according to the company webpage.
Schreurs was released from custody on a $5,000 bond.
The conditions for release include surrendering his passport, not selling any personal items worth over $500, and not closing any bank accounts, according to court records.