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Easley man found guilty in mail fraud scheme

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A jury has found an Easley man guilty in federal court of aiding and abetting a mail fraud scheme.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Richard Elmer Sundblad, 65, of Easley, helped his wife, Retta Sundblad, defraud custom radiator maker Griffin Thermal Products out of more than $800,000.

Retta Sundblad was working as a purchasing manager for Greenville County-based Griffin Thermal Products and, during an internal audit in 2014, “a large number of invoices” was discovered being submitted to Griffin from a company called Upstate Industrial Services LLC, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Further investigation found that Upstate Industrial Services LLC was created by Richard Sundblad and Upstate Industrial had never provided any products or services to Griffin. The Upstate Industrial invoices were fictitious, and Sundblad had deposited numerous checks from Griffin into an account he held with his wife, according to the news release. A template for Upstate Industrial invoices was found on the work computer of Retta Sundblad, the release said.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, the stolen funds “enabled the Sundblads to purchase cars, a motor coach, and to generally live a lavish lifestyle.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Beth Drake said in a news release that the maximum penalty the Sundblads can receive is a fine of $250,000 and imprisonment for 20 years, plus a special assessment of $100.

Retta Sundblad has pleaded guilty in the case and is awaiting sentencing. Richard Sundblad will be sentenced after District Judge J. Michelle Childs, who presided over the trial, has reviewed a report from the U.S. Probation Office.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story had incorrect names for Griffin Thermal Products and Richard Sundblad.

Reach Matthew Clark at 864-720-1222.

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