Special to Iredell Free News

Three men men have been sentenced to serve time in federal prison for a scheme that defrauded Lowe’s Home Improvement of more than $450,000.

U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. sentenced Bobby Cherry, 58, to 41 months in prison, Russell Leroy Calvin, 43, to 33 months in prison, and Michael Marcel Montgomery, 48, to 27 months in prison.

In addition to the prison terms imposed, the defendants, all of whom are South Carolina residents, were ordered to pay more than $450,000 in restitution to Lowe’s. All three men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

 Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, announced the disposition of the case in a news release.

According to filed documents and evidence presented at Wednesday’s sentencing hearings, from August 2019 to March 2020, Cherry, Calvin and Montgomery engaged in a conspiracy to defraud Lowe’s stores in the southeastern United States.

The defendants and other co-conspirators created business accounts for fraudulent landscaping and home improvement companies at Lowe’s stores, passed fictitious and worthless checks to fund the fraudulent accounts, and then purchased expensive landscaping equipment, such as zero-turn mowers and other items using the account funds.

In total, during the course of the scheme, the co-conspirators opened more than 30 such fraudulent business accounts which they used to obtain more than $450,000 in fraudulently purchased goods.

During the scheme, the three defendants made purchases at local stores in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Union, Lincoln, Cleveland and Iredell counties in North Carolina, as well as stores in South Carolina and Georgia.

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