Decatur Co. man sentenced in RICO case -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Decatur Co. man sentenced in RICO case

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Attapulgus, GA (WALB) - Eric Hyatt thought he would never get caught. "He thought that because he had been in charge of over $55 to $60 million, they wouldn't notice $132,000 missing," said South Georgia D.A. Joe Mulholland.

Investigators say the former CEO of project engineering for BASF stole about $132,000 in cash and other items by altering and creating fake invoices for the plant.

D.A. Joe Mulholland says this was an easy case to crack. "Once they looked at the invoices, they realized that the items they were being procured for were not actually items that were being used there."

Prosecutors say Hyatt ordered parts for his Harley Davidson, equipment to renovate his house, and even parts for his single engine aircraft. "Basically by telling the company that his travel budget had been cut, and there was no travel budget, so if he called in and ordered something for an airplane and said hey my travel budget's been cut, I really need this bad, we need to make this trip. The company wouldn't think anything about it."

On the RICO statute it says you can fine the person up to $25,000 or three times the value of the stolen goods. Mulholland says the best decision they could make was sentence Hyatt to pay the fine. "In a case like this with the prison overcrowding the way it is, he might have served a couple months and then when he got out he'd be a wealthy man still."

Mulholland says before Hyatt could walk free, he needed to pay back the money he stole from BASF. On Tuesday he paid back the $132,000 along with the $250,000 he owed in fines and surcharges.  The $250,000 Hyatt paid in fines and surcharges will go directly to the Decatur County Sheriff's office.

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