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REAL EXPERIENCE. PROVEN RESULTS.

The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated on a lawyer or law firm’s past results. The cases mentioned on this website are illustrative of matters handled by the managing partner of the firm. Individual case results depend upon a variety of factors that are unique to each case. Not all case results are provided and prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

$270M CONTRACT FRAUD

William John Grizack

Bill Grizack made himself out to be an advertising genius. In reality, he was one of the biggest cons the advertising agency industry has ever seen. In 2012, Grizack was a full-time employee of The Variable, a national advertising agency based in Winston-Salem, NC. In an effort to achieve partnership status, Grizack secretly defrauded the Variable as well as McKinney Advertising based in Durham, NC.

Grizack’s falsification of six advertising contracts worth a total of $269.9 million was just the beginning. To masquerade and perpetuate his fraud, he created several fake email addresses that closely resembled those of real Brown-Forman and Coca-Cola executives. He simulated correspondence, presumably with himself, to imitate legitimate executives and create a backdrop for his made-up agreements. Fake invoices, simulated remittance correspondence, and other electronic evidence were pieces of his elaborate con.

As a result of Grizack’s actions, he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional pay and the possession of an Audi Q7. Grizack used these funds to nourish his appetite for a lavish lifestyle.

The losses to the victims, The Variable and McKinney, were devastating. The companies both suffered millions of dollars in loss, laid off dozens of employees, and froze out new hires.

Harkey successfully prosecuted the case which ended with Bill Grizack spending several years in a North Carolina prison. The case gained national notoriety and was featured on the cover of Adweek magazine. Additional commentary on the case can be found in the News & Observer, Winston-Salem Journal, and the Washington Times.

MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR PONZI-SCHEME

Angela Dawn Campbell

Harkey successfully prosecuted a Burlington woman who obtained over $1.6 Million as part of a complex 27-victim Ponzi scheme. The defendant was sentenced to 120-162 months in prison and was ordered to pay back over $1 Million in restitution after a contested hearing. More information about the case can be found in The Burlington Times News.

A detailed and thorough investigation was carried out by Harkey and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. It revealed that over a three-year period, Angela Dawn Campbell approached dozens of friends and fellow church members about managing their investments. She told each of them she was a day-trader who could produce large returns – usually double or triple their investment.

But this proved too good to be true. The reality was that Campbell was using a large portion of this money to fund her personal lifestyle. A lifestyle that included expensive trips to casinos in Cherokee and Atlantic City. None of the “investments” were used for day-trading. It was all a lie.

Although Campbell promised her victims “draws” on their money at anytime, it became increasingly difficult to satisfy the victim’s demands for their returns. Many investors lost their homes, 401Ks, and life savings as a result Campbell’s conduct.

Pretrial coverage of the only athlete agent inducement trial ever conducted in the United States.

ATHLETE AGENT SCANDAL

UNC Chapel-Hill Athletic Program

Over a five-year period, impermissible benefits were provided to athletes at the University of North Carolina by several sports agents, financial advisors, memorabilia dealers, and runners. Harkey, along with the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office and the NCAA, investigated and prosecuted multiple individuals who provided these impermissible benefits.

Harkey’s prosecution yielded the convictions of several agents and runners who illegally provided funds to athletes associated with the UNC Chapel-Hill athletics program. During the multi-defendant litigation, Harkey called for trial the first and only case to go to trial in the United States under the Uniform Athlete Agent Act.

Elements of the case were extensively covered by media outlets across the nation such as ESPN, Associated Press, Washington Post, Yahoo Sports, Seattle Times, and USA Today.

$1.4M FRAUD TRIAL

Rhonda Lea Byrd

Slate Marketing was a successful advertising company that helped build Reynolds Tobacco. But over a 10-year period, the reputable marketing company was being looted by their trusted office manager for millions of dollars. Harkey pieced together the layers of fraud and presented the case to a Winston-Salem jury. The trial included Harkey’s cross-examination of Rhonda Byrd where she ultimately admitted to defrauding Slate. The jury sided with Harkey and the Slate companies, ordering Byrd to prison for nearly 100-months and requiring her to pay over $1.4 million in restitution. The case was followed closely by the Winston-Salem Journal. Read more here, here, here, and here.

$2,000,000 EMBEZZLEMENT

Gregory Moore

The office manager of one of the largest producers of shell eggs in the southeastern United States embezzled nearly $2,000,000.00 over a six year period. The defendant used his check stamping authority to write himself hundreds of checks in addition to his authorized payroll. HE then masqueraded these transactions in the accounting system. After an SBI investigation and Harkey’s submission of the case to a Cherokee County grand jury, the defendant pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to 116-164 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay full restitution. More about the case can be found in the Cherokee One Feather publication.

N.C. A&T FRAUD TRIAL

University Foundation Embezzlement

Harkey prosecuted the Director of Accounting of the non-profit North Carolina A&T Foundation for the embezzlement of over $400,000.00. The case proceeded to trial where the defendant was found guilty, sentenced to prison, and ordered to pay full restitution. The case was covered by Fox 8, Washington Times, WRAL, Triad Business Journal, WXII, The Times News, WFMY, and the Greensboro News & Record.

Victimized homeowners share their story about being defrauded by construction fraud con-artist Tony Ray Hubbard. Harkey lead the investigation, prosecution, and recovery for the victims.

CONSTRUCTION FRAUD CASES

Harkey has litigated numerous construction fraud cases throughout North Carolina. These cases involve rings or single actors who have duped homeowners and businesses out of large sums of money through false promises to perform work.

Notably, Harkey led the prosecution of serial conman, Tony Ray Hubbard. More details about Hubbard’s fraud can be found in publications by WFMY, WXII, and the Winston Salem Journal.

Harkey has pursued several roofing scam rings and construction fraudsters who have prayed upon elderly victims. He spearheaded a state-wide crackdown on construction fraud with his involvement in “Operation Nail-It” which was covered by WRAL.

In 2019, Harkey’s construction fraud work was featured in WBTV‘s three part investigative special titled “Construction Corruption.”

“They’ve seen what we’ve been able to do . . . the results we’ve been able to achieve for the victims”
W. Scott Harkey

PUBLIC CORRUPTION

W. Scott Harkey has a reputation for aggresively pursuing every case.  It has never mattered who was on the other side. He will always fight hard for what is right. Throughout his career, Harkey prosecuted elected officials, law enforcement officers, former judges, clerks of court, attorneys, and government administrators.

Robert K. Leonard

Harkey successfully prosecuted a former Forsyth County District Court Judge for embezzling a house, silver coins, and money from an irrevocable trust. Leonard also fraudulently obtained another $150,000 line of credit from a regional bank. The defendant pleaded guilty as charged, was sentenced to prison, and ordered to pay full restitution to the victim. The court also ordered the future garnishment of the defendant’s social security benefits for the benefit of the victim. The case was covered by Fox 8 the Winston-Salem Journal.

Ginger Grubb

Harkey prosecuted Ginger Grubb, the wife of the Chief Deputy Sheriff, who was ultimately convicted of embezzling over $350,000.00 from a tax-funded fire department in North Carolina. Harkey managed to recover $100,000.00 for the victims at the time of plea and the defendant was sentenced to 67-93 months in prison. Additionally, Harkey established a method whereby over $3,000 in monthly payments where routed from Grubb’s retirement and paid directly to the victims. Additional details about the case can be found in The Dispatch, News & Record, Winston-Salem Journal, Fox 8, and WXII.

County Business Manager

Melissa Hughey worked as a business manager for the Catawba County Department of Social Services. During this time, she carried out a procurement card scheme that resulted in the loss of $147,868.19. Harkey secured her conviction where she was ordered to pay back full restitution and sentenced to 45-63 months in prison.

Town of Kernersville Fraud

The solid waste superintendent for the Town of Kernersville employed a false invoicing scheme over a 14-year period to steal over $275,000.00. He laundered money using a fake corporation and multiple bank accounts. Harkey worked closely with law enforcement during the multi-year investigation. The defendant was found guilty, sentenced to prison, and paid back $275,000.00 in restitution resulting in full recovery for the town.  Additional details can be found in the Winston-Salem Journal, WNCT, and on CBS17.

Attorney Lawyer Litigation NC
A documented history of successfully navigating some of the most sensitive and complex cases throughout North Carolina.

OTHER NOTABLE CASES

Goodwill Baptist Church

Harkey successfully prosecuted the former pastor of Goodwill Baptist Church. During his time as pastor, John A. Jackson purchased and leased multiple Cadillac luxury vehicles using church funds. He also fraudulently paid for his son’s college tuition at Shaw University and workers’ compensation insurance for his side business. Ultimately, Harkey secured the convictions of the pastor, his son, and the Church treasurer who were all involved in the conspiracy. The case was featured by the News & Record, Lynchburg’s The News AdvanceWXII, Burlington Times News, Fox 8, and WBTV.

Tim Marburger Dealership Cases

Harkey successfully prosecuted Sandeep Sharma, an employee with Tim Marburger’s dealerships in the greater Charlotte, North Carolina area. The case resulted in full restitution of $244,000.00 being paid to Marburger’s companies and their subsidiaries.

Erin Upright

Erin Lynn Upright was a habitual felon and serial thief. Having committed felonies all along the east coast, she never had served any significant time in prison. After declining a plea offer of 2-years, she was tried, convicted, and sentenced to over 9-years in prison. More about the case can be found on WBTV.

Securities Fraud Prosecution

John Natale Michelotti posed as a sharp businessman whose company invested in the construction of churches and schools. In reality, he was a crook. He obtained deeds to property and tens of thousands dollars from gullible victims using a shell company he called “White Investments, Inc.” While promising investors returns, he used the money to fuel his personal lifestyle. Harkey worked closely with the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office and United State’s Marshall’s Service during the successful prosecution. The case was covered by the News & Record, Triad Business Journal, and Fox 8.

Elder Exploitation and Abuse

In 2008, octogenarian Eleanor Guenin started suffering from memory loss. A power of attorney was granted to her step-daughter, Eileen Lee, as Eleanor developed more severe health problems including dementia. From 2011 to 2013, Lee, along with her son Christopher Ladagana, executed hundreds of transactions in violation of the power of attorney. Fraudulent checks and debit card purchases totaling $532,387.49 were executed for the benefit of Lee, Ladagana, and their floundering restaurant business. Harkey prosecuted Lee and Ladagana, both were sentenced to North Carolina prison, and ordered to pay back full restitution. More information about the case can be found via the Cherokee Scout newspaper.

PUBLIC CORRUPTION

Monroeton Fire Department

Hunter Marie Hill served as the treasurer of the Monroeton Fire Department in Rockingham County, North Carolina. Between 2009 and 2014, the Hill embezzled tax-payer fire department funds totaling $144,205.97. She paid full restitution at the time of plea and was sentenced to prison. More information about the case can be found at WXII and Greensboro’s News & Record. A follow-up story was published in in 2016 in the News & Record.

County Commissioner Corruption

In 2012, Rowan County Commissioner John Barber began using government property to benefit a non-profit organization he managed. Harkey worked alongside the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, ultimately obtaining the convictions of commissioner Jon Barber. More about the case can be found via the Salisbury Post and WBTV.

City of Salisbury

Harkey successfully prosecuted Joe Damon Elliott, a customer service representative for the City of Salisbury. Using a cash void payment scheme, Elliot embezzled $21,118.35 in payments he collected for water, garbage, and sewer over a 1.5 year period. Elliot was convicted of multiple felonies and Harkey successfully recovered full restitution for the City of Salisbury. More information about the case can be found at WBTV.

Senior Services Embezzlement

Amanda Morton Hurley served as the program support assistant for Stanly County Senior Services Department. The department provided transportation services, meal delivery, educational opportunities, and recreational activities for senior citizens. Hurley employed a change fund scheme resulting in the embezzlement of $106,501.42 in tax payer dollars. Harkey worked with the SBI Financial Crimes Unit and successfully prosecuted Hurley. The case was covered by WSOCTV.

PTO Cases

In 2017, Harkey was appointed to lead the prosecution of a litany of embezzlements from parent teacher organizations in Davidson County. Harkey’s prosecution led to the convictions of Terry Cranfill, Shannon Justice, and Lynn Marie Johnson. Harkey successfully disposed of all of the cases within months of his appointment and he recovered tens of thousands of dollars for each of the victim institutions. More details about the Terry Cranfill case can be found in The Dispatch and News & Record. Additional details about the Shannon Justice prosecution can be found in The DispatchFox 8 , WFMY, and the Winston-Salem Journal. Details about the Lynn Marie Johnson case can be found in the News & Record.

FAKE CANCER FRAUD

Amy Hammer

Harkey led the investigation and prosecution of Amy Hammer who defrauded an entire community through her fake cancer scheme. In 2019, she began telling friends and community leaders she was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

Hammer enlisted the help of her victims to set up fundraisers and events. She promoted her fake cancel battle on social media with false claims about her cancer treatment. A Facebook group called “Amy’s Promise” was created. But “Amy’s Promise” was in fact a lie.

Harkey’s efforts yielded a successful outcome for the victims and the community. The case gained national attention and was covered extensively by Yahoo News, Fox 8Courier-Tribune, WXII, WFMY News 2, News & Record, WSOCTV, and CBS 17.

Hannah Hume

Within months of the Amy Hammer prosecution, Hannah Hume, who lived less than 30-miles away from Hammer began her own fake cancer fraud scheme. Hume’s attempt to start a fundraiser for her non existent cancer was quickly discovered, investigated, and Hume was successfully prosecuted for her conduct.

The case gained national attention from Newsweek Magazine, and was covered locally by the Courier-Tribune.

Hosiery Mill Embezzlement

On the morning of trial, the controller of a hosiery mill sought to resolve the case by plea agreement. Harkey declined this offer and moved the case to trial. The defendant then admitted all fault, pleaded guilty as charged, received the maximum possible sentence, and was ordered to pay full restitution in excess of $130,000.00. Harkey spearheaded the investigation, prosecution, and represented the State at the sentencing hearing. The case was covered by the Burlington Times News, Triad Business Journal, and Greensboro’s News & Record.

Electronic Benefit Fraud

A Guilford County couple was prosecuted for defrauding the United States government out of over $265,000.00 in SNAPP benefits. Both defendants were sentenced to prison and a civil judgment was obtained on behalf of the United States Government. More details can be found on Fox 8 and the News & Record.

Thomasville Chamber of Commerce

Harkey prosecuted the Membership Director and Office Manager of the Thomasville Chamber of Commerce. Collectively, they executed over one thousand fraudulent debit card card transactions and cashed dozens of fraudulent checks. The losses to the Chamber of Commerce exceeded $130,000.00. Harkey successfully prosecuted both and obtained a substantial recovery for the Thomasville Chamber. More details can be found on WXII and the Lexington Dispatch.

Notable Cases - Harkey Litigation