Mason Co. Man Accused of Stealing From SS Badger Ferry Company
A Mason County man now faces federal charges, accused of stealing more than $500,000 from the company that runs the SS Badger in Ludington.
Federal prosecutors say Paul Piper was the longtime financial controller of Lake Michigan Carferry and Pere Marquette Shipping Company.
He’s now charged with bank fraud and making false income tax returns.
He could now face up to 30 years in prison.
Piper owns an accounting business along with a coffee shop just outside of Ludington and spent about a decade as the financial controller for the company that operates the SS Badger.
Court documents say Piper used the company’s accounting software to generate checks payable to himself and to his companies.
Investigators say those checks were logged as insurance expenses in the companies records.
Prosecutors say Piper also wrote checks to himself, entered it as an accounting service for the ferry company but never did the work.
Finally, prosecutors claim Piper forged signatures on those checks or used a signature stamp without permission.
Investigators say Piper stole at least $550,000 and used it for his accounting and coffee businesses along with personal expenses.
Lake Michigan Carferry and Pere Marquette Shipping Company released this statement on Monday:
‘We are aware of the pending situation regarding Paul Piper, and we have been working with the authorities throughout their investigation. We will not be answering questions or have any comment until the process is complete.’
9&10 News tried to reach out to Piper at his business Monday but we were told he was not in.