Former Dutchmen executive sentenced for wire fraud

Former vp of finance at Dutchmen sentenced to 41 months in jail

Posted on Dec. 7, 2011 at 12:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — A former recreational vehicle executive will be spending the next three and a half years in prison as part of an agreement to plead guilty to wire fraud.

In November, Mark Schwartzhoff, former vice president of finance at Dutchmen Manufacturing, was found guilty in U.S. District Court in South Bend of one count of fraud by wire, radio or television. He was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and to pay $1.97 million in restitution to Thor Industries, parent company of Dutchmen.

After he is released, he will be placed on probation for three years.

Goshen-based Dutchmen Manufacturing is a division of Thor Industries, headquartered in Jackson Center, Ohio.

In a plea agreement, Schwartzhoff admitted that from 2003 through 2007, he prepared false financial reports that understated Dutchmen’s cost of goods sold and overstated earnings. He then sent these reports to his supervisors in Ohio. He also made false journal entries as well as altered related documents to conceal his fraud.

Court documents state Schwartzhoff’s fraud directly led to the company to overstate earnings by $25 million and to pay about $2 million in unwarranted bonuses.

Neither Thor Industries nor Schwartzhoff’s attorney returned calls seeking comment.

However, Thor did submit a victim impact statement to the court, detailing the consequences the company suffered as a result of Schwartzhoff’s illegal activities.

“Mr. Schwartzhoff’s misconduct caused substantial harm to Thor Industries,” the statement read. “The internal and government investigations resulted in significant fees and expenses and also caused significant disruption to Thor’s business.”

Specifically, the company explained, it had to restate its previously-issued financial statements. It was also investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and fined $1 million.

The court ordered Schwartzhoff to surrender himself to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons before 9 a.m. Jan. 3, 2012.

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