By Matt Wiley
An Oklahoma man who was arrested in Tampa Palms could face 20 years in prison for the theft of millions of dollars in textbooks.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO), Christopher J. Brock, 44, was arrested on June 20 at 16287 Enclave Village Dr., inside the Promenade at Tampa Palms condominiums complex for defrauding his former employer, Hoboken, NJ-based textbook publisher John Wiley & Sons, out of more than $2.8 million worth of textbooks.
Brock lived in Yukon, OK, and worked as a higher education publishing representative and district sales supervisor for the publishing giant. A USAO press release states that Brock, who remotely used the corporate computer system of Wiley & Sons, diverted more than 16,000 textbooks to himself, designating them as “free educational samples.”
The release states that Brock made up fictional professors to send the textbook samples to, but they were actually shipped to addresses that he controlled. However, some of the people he listed as recipients were actual professors.
Brock allegedly sold the materials that he received to textbook resellers who would send payment to him through the online service PayPal, which put the money into Brock’s bank accounts,.
USAO reports that Brock’s offenses caused Wiley & Sons to suffer a $2.8-million loss. Brock reportedly spent the money received on personal expenses, including expensive furniture and scuba equipment.
If convicted of wire fraud, Brock could spend 20 years in prison and be forced to pay a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss of the offense, which could total nearly $6 million at its maximum amount.