Crime

He embezzled $121,000 to pay medical bills. He’ll serve 15 months for it

Apollo Oil is headquartered in Winchester.
Apollo Oil is headquartered in Winchester. gkocher1@herald-leader.com

A man who embezzled more than $120,000 from Apollo Oil in Winchester was sentenced Friday to 15 months in federal prison camp.

Kevin McComas, 47, of Barboursville, W.Va., pleaded guilty in May to one count of wire fraud. As part of his plea agreement, he will pay back $121,727 to Apollo Oil, a wholesale oil distributor.

“I feel terrible that I betrayed my employer, Apollo Oil, and only wish to repay them of the monies that I took and hope they will eventually accept my apologies,” McComas wrote in a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Danny C. Reeves.

McComas was general manager of Apollo’s plant in Nitro, W.Va. Apollo Oil provides oils and lubricants to car dealerships, quick lube stores, trucking companies and factories.

Federal prosecutors said they could prove that, from February 2013 to July 2015, McComas identified customers who paid on a cash-on-delivery basis, and when he obtained payments, he would deposit them into an “Apollo” account he created and controlled. He then used the money for personal expenses.

McComas used a computer owned by the company to connect daily from West Virginia to Apollo’s server in Winchester. He then accessed and modified customer information and route manifests to indicate that each customer had canceled the order.

Medical bills for his wife and father and nursing home expenses for his mother (now deceased) were cited as reasons McComas embezzled in a sentencing memorandum written by his attorney, John Helmuth of Lexington.

“It doesn’t justify what he did but there was a level of desperation,” Helmuth said in court.

McComas is employed now by a different company. Helmuth sought probation because the new employer cannot hold a job until McComas is released from incarceration.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Boone said incarceration is necessary. “Those who would commit these types of crimes need to know there is a penalty,” Boone said.

McComas must report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Oct. 23.

McComas is the second employee convicted of taking from Apollo in the last two years. In the other case, a man who embezzled more than $3 million over a 10-year period was sentenced to a little more than four years in prison.

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