GREENSBORO — After being charged earlier in 2019, former Pfeiffer University CFO Jeffrey Plyler pleaded guilty to a felony charge of “making a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement.” Plyler agreed to a deal in exchange for his guilty plea and will be sentenced on August 19, 2019 at 2 p.m.
According to a statement from the federal court, Plyler faces a maximum penalty of 60 months in prison and must make restitution payments totaling $527,350.
Matthew G.T. Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, announced that Plyler, 57, made the agreement while appearing before U.S. District Judge William L. Osteen, Jr. in Greensboro.
The details of the charge alleged that Plyler created a fraudulent invoice and then forged a signature on an IRS Form W-9 with the aim of embezzling funds from the university.
“Mr. Plyler held a position of trust as CFO of Pfeiffer University. Instead of fulfilling that trust, he exploited it for his own gain. Let this be a lesson that federal authorities will address fraud in this district,” Martin said in the release. “I commend the FBI, U.S. Postal Investigation Service, and AUSA McFadden for their excellent work.”
During Plyler’s tenure at the university, Pfeiffer’s controller of financial operations noticed unusual payments and began an audit. This audit led to the discovery of insurance and consulting fees paid to companies under the control of Plyler. These findings were then passed on to the FBI. These fraudulent payments totaled $527,350.
“Following an internal investigation of the matter, information was turned over to federal investigators,” Pfeiffer University President Dr. Colleen Keith said in a statement provided to Stanly County Journal. “We are grateful for the work that has been done to bring this situation to a conclusion.”
Pfeiffer University has been in Stanly County, in the town of Misenheimer, since 1910, when it was a high school called the Mitchell School. It later began offering college courses and changed its name. The school has 1,2000 students and is associated with the United Methodist Church.