LUDINGTON, Mich. — A man working for the company that operates the car-porting ferry that runs between Michigan and Wisconsin is facing charges of fraud and filing a false tax return.
According to a filing in federal court last week, 57-year-old Paul Patrick Piper worked "for many years" as the financial controller for Lake Michigan Carferry, the company that operates the SS Badger ferry out of Ludington. Piper is accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands from the company between 2007 and 2018.
Federal investigators allege that Piper defrauded various banks and Lake Michigan Carferry out of at least $550,000 over the years.
Piper is alleged to have written checks directly to himself and to two businesses he was affiliated with, Piper Tax and Accounting and Piper Group, by either forging the signatures of the Carferry owners or by using a signature stamp without their permission. Investigators say that Piper was able to hide these transactions from others in the accounting software by "booking these checks to an insurance expense code" and by making other sorts of false entries in the company's financial books.
In addition to facing charges related to the missing funds, Piper is also looking at time behind bars for allegedly filing a false tax return. Investigators claim he failed to include the amount of money he had stolen from the Carferry company in his returns. The court filing says he also failed to report other income he had earned from his personal tax and accounting company.
FOX 17 has reached out to Lake Michigan Carferry for comment but has not yet heard back.