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Former controller of Minnesota metal stamping company sentenced to 33 months in prison for million dollar embezzlement scheme

12/4/2017 1:57:23 PM

For Immediate Release

SAINT PAUL – Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman announced that John Burwood Robinson, age 50, of Crystal, has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for stealing more than $1.1 million from his employer.

Robinson pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of mail fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. He was sentenced on November 30, before Senior Judge Paul A. Magnuson in U.S. District Court.

“Robinson was entrusted with managing the finances of the business that employed him, but instead he violated that trust by defrauding and stealing from the business,” said Commissioner Looman. “This successful criminal investigation was the result of a coordinated effort by the Commerce Fraud Bureau with the Blaine Police and the IRS.”

“This is an appropriate sentence for a defendant who abused his long-held position of trust by stealing more than a million dollars from his employer to fund his preoccupation with classic automobiles,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Surya Saxena. “I am grateful for the combined efforts of the investigative agencies whose work brought this case to a successful conclusion.”

“IRS Criminal Investigation remains committed to uncovering financial fraud schemes,” stated Acting Special Agent in Charge Hubbard Burgess of the St. Paul Field Office IRS Criminal Investigation. “The recent 33-month sentencing of John Robinson shows that filing a filing false tax return will result in severe consequences.”

According to his guilty plea and documents filed in court, from 1991 through 2016, Robinson was employed by North Central Stamping & Manufacturing, Inc. (“NCSMI”), and in 2003, he became NCSMI’s controller. As the controller, he managed NCSMI’s bank accounts, bookkeeping records and financial reports.

According to his guilty plea and documents filed in court, Robinson devised a fraud scheme to steal money that was paid to NCSMI by its clients. Robinson opened a bank account in the name of NCSMI without the company’s knowledge or authorization. He then deposited payments made by NCSMI’s customers into the fraudulent bank account he had set up.

Robinson used the money to pay for his own personal expenses, to fund his hobby of buying and restoring automobiles and automobile parts, and to pay for a storage facility to store the automobiles and parts. In total, he stole approximately $1.2 million from NCSMI.

According to his guilty plea and documents filed in court, Robinson also admitted to filing false tax returns by understating his total income for the calendar years 2009 through 2015, in order to lower his tax liability and to avoid detection of his fraud scheme. In total, he caused a total tax loss of more than $291,000.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS, the Minnesota Department of Commerce Fraud Bureau, and the Blaine Police Department.

Media Contact
Ross Corson
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
p: 651-539-1463 | c: 651-368-5050 | ross.corson@state.mn.us

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