COLUMBIA — U.S. Attorney Beth Drake stated that Retta Helms Sundblad, 60, of Easley, was sentenced in federal court in Greenville for mail fraud, a violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 2.
United States District Judge J. Michelle Childs of Columbia imposed sentence of 51 months’ imprisonment and ordered Retta Sundblad to pay $280,000 in restitution.
Evidence presented at the change of plea and sentencing hearing established that Retta Sundblad worked as the purchasing manager for Griffin Thermal Products (“GTP”), a Greenville County business that manufactures high-end, custom-made radiators.
During an internal audit in December 2014, GTP determined that beginning in or about 2012 a large number of invoices had been submitted to GTP by a business named Upstate Industrial Services, LLC (“Upstate Industrial”).
GTP discovered that Upstate Industrial had never provided any products or services and that the Upstate Industrial invoices were fictitious. A template for Upstate Industrial invoices was found on the work computer of Retta Sundblad.
Upstate Industrial was formed by Richard Sundblad, Retta’s husband who has already been sentenced to 41 months in the Bureau of Prisons, and he deposited numerous GTP checks into a bank account that he and his wife controlled. The stolen money enabled the Sundblads to purchase cars, a motor coach, and to generally live a lavish lifestyle.
The case was investigated by agents of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.