Former SS Badger financial controller charged with defrauding company

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WBAY) - A former financial controller for the SS Badger carferry has been charged with stealing from the company.

Federal prosecutors in Grand Rapids, Mich., have filed bank fraud and income tax offenses against Paul Patrick Piper, 57.

The Ludington, Mich. man is accused of defrauding financial institutions and the SS Badger company of at least $550,000, according to the attorney's office in the United States District Court in Grand Rapids.

The SS Badger carferry carries people and cars between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wis.

Investigators say Piper wrote checks to himself and two of his businesses, Piper Tax & Accounting and Piper Group.

"Piper either forged the signatures of company owners on these checks or used a signature stamp without the authorization of the owners," reads a statement from federal prosecutors.

Piper is accused of hiding the alleged fraud by marking the checks as an insurance expense code and making false entries on balance sheets.

A federal complaint states the alleged fraud happened between 2007 and May 2018.

Piper is also charged with filing false personal income tax returns with the IRS.

If convicted, Piper faces up to 30 years in federal prison on the bank fraud charge. He faces a possible three-year term for the tax fraud count.

Charges were filed on Feb. 21.

Lake Michigan carferry VP Patrick McCarthy released this statement to Action 2 News:

"We are aware of the pending situation regarding Paul Piper, and we have been working with the authorities throughout their investigation. We will not be answering questions or have any comment until the process is complete."