ST. LOUIS-The former president of a now-defunct St. Louis tire and wheel wholesaling company has been sentenced to 51 months in prison after pleading guilty to fraud charges. Donald E. Mathis, former president of Global Imports Ltd., pleaded guilty July 24 to one count each of wire and bankruptcy fraud. Six counts of wire fraud and six counts of interstate transportation of goods obtained by fraud were dropped after Mr. Mathis pleaded guilty, said a spokeswoman for Edward L. Dowd Jr., U.S. attorney, Eastern District of Missouri.
A grand jury alleged Mr. Mathis engaged in a scheme to defraud the shareholders, suppliers and creditors of Global from mid 1989 until Nov. 16, 1993. He allegedly falsified invoices to cover losses he had incurred after entering into a contract to become the exclusive worldwide sales representative for Boyd's Wheels Inc. against the wishes of other shareholders, the U.S. attorney's office said.
The grand jury charged Mr. Mathis falsely stated Global was selling goods for a profit when they were actually being sold at or below cost and concealed from auditors the true nature of the firm's finances in 1991, 1992 and 1993.
In December 1993, an involuntary bankruptcy proceeding was filed against Global. Although the company had an accounts receivable balance of more than $5 million and inventory of about $3 million, a trustee ``could not recover any significant assets,'' the attorney's office said.
Allegedly, as a result of the scheme, Global's shareholders and creditors lost more than $6 million, the attorney's office said.