GREENSBORO — The former chief financial officer of Pfeiffer University on Monday pleaded guilty to a federal fraud charge, prosecutors announced Monday.
Jeffrey Byron Plyler, of Albemarle, pleaded guilty in federal court in Greensboro to a felony charge of making a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement, according to a press release from the office of Matthew G.T. Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina.
Plyler’s plea was in connection with a forged signature on an Internal Revenue Service Form W- 9. Prosecutors say Plyler forged the signature in order to receive payment from Pfeiffer University on a fraudulent invoice.
“Mr. Plyler held a position of trust as CFO of Pfeiffer University. Instead of fulfilling that trust, he exploited it for his own gain,” Martin said in a statement. “Let this be a lesson that federal authorities will address fraud in this district. I commend the FBI, U.S. Postal Investigation Service, and (Assistant U.S. Attorney JoAnna G.) McFadden for their excellent work.”
Plyler, 57, worked at the Meisenheimer-based university as the vice president for financial services and its CFO.
Pfeiffer’s controller of financial operations noted during an invoice review that the university was paying a significant amount of money for insurance commission/agent fees and an audit ensued, according to prosecutors.
The audit revealed that several irregular invoices allegedly related to fees and consulting work completed by Circle One, Senn Dunn, and Leggett. A subsequent investigation found that Plyler was the registered agent for Circle One and Leggett and that he was doing business as Senn Dunn in Stanly County without the authorization of Senn Dunn.
Prosecutors say the college paid a total of $527,350 to accounts that Plyler controlled — all of which he is ordered to pay back, per his plea agreement.
Plyler is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 19 and could face up to five years in a federal penitentiary.