Lexington man pleads guilty to embezzling more than $1 million

United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced, via press release Tuesday, that William Tye Grisel, 39, of Lexington, has pleaded guilty.

He pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud. Grisel used his position and access to company networks and credit cards to embezzle approximately $1,050,000.00 from his employer, Big Red Box (BRB), a waste management call center located in Columbia.

Facts presented to the court showed BRB hired Grisel on Dec. 23, 2013, to be a national dumpster salesperson. He later became an IT manager. As the IT manager, he was responsible for BRB’s computer hardware, phone systems and servers, computer systems and servers, proprietary software, and email systems. Most significantly, he was responsible for hiring, managing, tracking, and paying the search engine optimization companies (SEOs) that generated marketing calls for BRB.

SEOs initiate marketing phone calls that are routed to the BRB call center. This is a significant expense. Since 2011, BRB has hired and paid approximately ten SEOs.

Grisel started a company called Local List. Local List generated no calls on its own. Instead, Local List used the call lists of other SEOs, represented that these call lists were its own, and billed BRB for them. Over almost three years, Local List billed BRB around $1,049,996.97.

Grisel ceased his full-time employment with BRB on March 1, 2016. He then started his own company, G5 Marketing. As an independent contractor, Grisel, through G5, continued to receive $1,600 per month from BRB.

Senior United States District Court Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. accepted Grisel’s plea and will sentence him after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the United States Probation Office.

The United States Secret Service and Richland County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Winston David Holliday, Jr., of the Columbia office is prosecuting the case.

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