Crime

Man who embezzled $3 million from Apollo Oil accepts ‘full responsibility’ for actions

Apollo Oil LLC of Winchester, one of the largest lubricant companies in the U.S., accused Bradley Taylor, former operations manager, of directing millions for his own use.
Apollo Oil LLC of Winchester, one of the largest lubricant companies in the U.S., accused Bradley Taylor, former operations manager, of directing millions for his own use. Lexington Herald-Leader

A Winchester man accused of stealing more than $3 million from his former employer was sentenced Wednesday to a little more than four years in prison.

Bradley E. Taylor, 38, must also pay back the money he embezzled over a 10-year period from Apollo Oil, a wholesale distributorship in Winchester.

“I accept full responsibility for my actions,” Taylor told U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves in federal court in Lexington. As for Apollo, Taylor said he was “sorry for the financial pain and emotional suffering” he caused the company and its employees.

Taylor, the married father of a 9-year-old boy and 4-year-old daughter, had pleaded guilty in October to one count of wire fraud. Taylor was charged with wire fraud because an email account was used in the embezzlement scheme.

Court documents say that Taylor used the money to sustain gambling, drug and alcohol addictions. In open court, Taylor said he had explained all that he had done to his son.

“Hopefully, it will be a learning lesson for him,” Taylor said.

Court documents detailed how Taylor, while operations manager for Apollo Oil, fabricated purchase orders, invoices and shipping documents reflecting fictitious purchases of bulk oil products.

Apollo Oil issued checks totaling $3,055,422 to a shell company Taylor had created. The theft was discovered in the summer of 2014 when Apollo Oil employees began reviewing inventory discrepancies.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Boone said in court that Taylor had cooperated “from day one” with the FBI investigation, and had sought and received treatment for his drug and alcohol addictions.

After he was confronted by the FBI about the theft, Taylor entered a substance abuse program in Doraville, Ga., and successfully completed inpatient addiction treatment.

“I think those things have to account for something,” Boone said.

The advisory sentencing range was 51 to 63 months in prison. Reeves chose to reduce the sentence to 51 months, or a little more than four years. Taylor must serve 85 percent of that sentence because there is no parole in the federal system.

“I want Mr. Taylor out working so he can pay some of his restitution,” Reeves said.

Apollo received $250,000 from its insurance company to cover a portion of the loss. The judge ordered Taylor to repay that amount to Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance, plus the remaining $2,805,422 to Apollo.

Taylor “knows that he may never be able to make complete restitution to Apollo Oil but he will not shy away from the responsibility to do the best he can,” defense attorney James Lowry wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

“Bradley Taylor is ashamed, humiliated and remorseful for his conduct,” Lowry wrote. “He loves his family and wants one day to be the husband and father he is capable of being.”

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