CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Hickory businessman has admitted in federal court to not only tax evasion but also to using customers' credit card information to make fraudulent charges.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of North Carolina announced that James Christopher Robinson, 51, of nearby Granite Falls, has pleaded guilty to charges of access device fraud and failure to tell the truth and make payments. The tax money for his actions over a period of about three years will be placed in a trust fund. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled, but he faces up to a total of 20 years in prison.
For the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app and enable push notifications.
Federal prosecutors allege Robinson owned a group of four cabinet manufacturing and retail businesses in the Hickory area. He admitted that between March 2020 and April 2023, he accessed customers' credit cards and made nearly 300 fraudulent charges totaling approximately $1 million. He also used information from actual customer checks to create at least four counterfeit checks totaling more than $93,000.
Robinson also admitted in his statement that he caused two of his companies to default on their employment tax obligations from 2017 to 2022. Specifically, Mr. Robinson failed to account for and pay more than $3.1 million in employment taxes. Prosecutors also said the suspect used the stolen funds to withdraw large amounts of cash from business accounts and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars at casinos.
Stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV by simply downloading our free app.
The case was investigated by the FBI, Secret Service, and IRS Criminal Investigation Division.
Note: WCNC instituted a policy regarding broadcasting or posting mugshots in March 2021.
WCNC only airs or posts mugshots if the person has been formally charged with a crime and in a few other cases. Exceptions include: If we believe the person may be a danger to themselves or others, or if the person is wanted by authorities. To distinguish people who have a common name. I hope the photos can encourage more victims. News editor leadership may also determine the use of mugshots based on the seriousness of the crime committed and/or the level of public interest in the crime and subsequent criminal proceedings.
Federal mugshots are generally not available to the public.