Man who defrauded Mutual of Enumclaw is sentenced

The man who defrauded Mutual of Enumclaw out of millions of dollars will now have plenty of time – spent behind bars – to consider his crime.

Donald Chill, 41, a former Washington resident who most recently lived in Florida, was sentenced March 29 in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to four years in prison, five years of supervised release and $4.9 million in restitution. He had admitted to mail fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. Chill pleaded guilty in October 2009, following the investigation of his company, Charles Prescott Restoration, a disaster restoration company specializing in making repairs paid for by insurance companies.

Chill worked primarily for Mutual of Enumclaw.

As part of a plea agreement, Chill admitted to submitting inflated billings for the work and then selling his company without disclosing the fraud. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said, “Even though it is unlikely you will commit this sort of crime again, deterring others is an important part of our system. This was a very serious crime and a great deal of money was involved.”

Chill formerly lived in the southwest Washington cities of Longview and Battle Ground. His company would respond to a damaged site, make emergency repairs and then submit a proposal for comprehensive repairs. The company used a special computer program authorized by Mutual of Enumclaw that built in 20 percent profit and overhead for the contractor. Beginning as early as 2004, Chill began inflating the estimates and invoices mailed to Mutual of Enumclaw. Chill padded bills from subcontractors or submitted forged secondary estimates that appeared to be from competitors. In just 10 jobs scrutinized during the last five years, Chill overbilled by an estimated $3.2 million. In one instance detailed in charging papers, Chill billed for $84,000 in purported electrical work when the identified electrical contractor had actually done nothing. The electrical contractor’s bill had been entirely fabricated by Chill and submitted to the insurance company.

In May 2007, Chill sold his business. As part of the sale he certified the company books and records were true and correct. Had the bank that financed the sale known of the false billing scheme, or the Small Business Administration which guaranteed the loan known of it, they would not have approved the $1.8 million loan to purchase the business. Chill is charged with bank fraud for that part of the scheme and is charged with money laundering for taking those ill-gotten proceeds and using them to purchase an expensive home on Marco Island, Florida. The home is being forfeited to the United States under the terms of the plea agreement.

As part of the plea agreement, Chill will pay Mutual of Enumclaw more than $3.2 million in restitution. He will pay an additional $1.7 million in restitution to Wachovia Bank and the Small Business Administration, which made the loans for the purchaser of Chill’s company.

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