Two Attorneys Sentenced For Wire Fraud Scam Of Johnson Controls

A Menominee Falls attorney, Scott Hess, age 54, and attorney Craig Hilborn, age 55, from Birmingham, Michigan, were sentenced for their participation in a wire fraud scheme involving Johnson Controls.

Hess was an in-house attorney at Johnson Controls, Inc., until late 2015.

Hess and Hilborn worked together to devise and execute a scheme to defraud Johnson Controls: Hess created fraudulent invoices for legal work purportedly completed by Hilborn’s law firm. Hess then approved those invoices on behalf of his employer, causing Johnson Controls to pay Hilborn’s law firm the invoiced amounts. In reality, Hilborn’s law firm did not perform any meaningful legal work for Johnson Controls. Hess and Hilborn carried out the scheme from 2000 through 2015, in the process stealing approximately $4.5 million from Johnson Controls.

In March and April of 2018, Hess and Hilborn both pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18 United States Code § 1343. On June 15, 2018, the Honorable J.P. Stadtmueller sentenced Hess to 32 months in prison, three years supervised release and a $90,000 fine. On June 28, 2018, the Honorable J.P. Stadtmueller sentenced Hilborn to 21 months in prison, two year’s supervised release and a $60,000 fine. Both Hess and Hilborn were ordered to pay full restitution to Johnson Controls.