NEWARK, N.J. – A former program manager of an international freight forwarding company today admitted his role in a scheme to embezzle over $550,000 from the company, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.
Morten Nielsen, 37, a Danish national residing in New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
As program manager for the freight forwarding company, Nielsen was responsible for the company’s contract relating to the Egyptian Foreign Military Sales program (EFMP), a program between the government of Egypt and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) that facilitated the sale and repair of military equipment from the DoD to Egypt. Nielsen was responsible for ensuring all logistics for the transportation of certain material between the United States and Egypt and for submitting all paperwork and billing invoices on behalf of the company to the Egyptian government. Once approved, those invoices were forwarded to the DoD for payment to the company.
From July 2017 through July 2019, Nielsen submitted fraudulent invoices from a sham company that he controlled to the freight forwarding company for work that the sham company never performed. Nielsen then sent the fraudulent invoices on behalf of his employer to the Egyptian government. The fraudulent invoices were approved by Egypt and, in turn, the DoD reimbursed the freight forwarding company. Nielsen caused his employer to pay the sham company he created approximately $559,000 over the course of two years, and then transferred those funds into his personal account.
The charge of wire fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000, twice the gross profits or loss, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for March 23, 2022.
Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; special agents of U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Hegarty; and special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Fatime Meka Cano of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Government Fraud Unit in Newark.