PROVIDENCE – The former IT Director at a Warwick supplier of precision tubing and fabricated metal components has been charged in federal court in Providence with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for allegedly embezzling more than $1M from the company, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.
Charging documents allege that Juan Hicks, 47, of New Bedford, MA, who was employed at the time as IT Director for the AT Wall Companies, used his access to the company’s computer network; his purchasing authority for computer hardware, software, and other equipment; his management authority over the company phone systems and internet services; and his access to company credit cards to orchestrate schemes in which he obtained goods and services for himself, family members, and friends, and paid personal expenses for Hicks and his family.
According to court documents, during a cyber-attack which took place in March 2022, AT Wall Companies hired forensic analysts to determine the source of the attack and to identify vulnerabilities. According to company officials, during that inquiry, Hicks refused to provide his computer and passwords, as per company policy. An internal investigation provided by the company to the Warwick Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and the United States Attorney’s Office subsequently revealed that Hicks had allegedly embezzled over one million dollars from the company since 2012.
According to information voluntarily provided by the company to law enforcement, Hicks’ alleged fraud included getting reimbursement for false expense reports and fraudulent invoices he created; enrolling family members on the company’s wireless phone service plan and issuing company phones to himself and six family members; purchasing airline and entertainment tickets for himself and family members; and using a company credit card to make purchases at retail stores and payments for auto repairs.
Hicks, arrested today, was released on unsecured bond following an initial appearance in U.S. District Court. A federal criminal complaint is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lee H. Vilker.