By Gwen Stanley
BURLINGTON – Paul Hendler, 39, of Woodstock has pled not guilty to 11 charges of federal fraud in United States District Court in Burlington.
A federal grand jury handed Hendler an 11-count indictment that charges him with interstate transportation of stolen money wire fraud and engaging in a monetary transaction involving more than $10,000 of criminally derived property.
According to the indictment’s charges, Hendler conducted a scheme to defraud two local businesses he was a part of, along with an individual he convinced to invest in one business.
Handler founded the JavaPop, Inc. company that distributed coffee-flavored soda with an office in Woodstock. Serving as president of the company from 2006 to 2008, he reported to the Board of Directors – but, the indictment alleges – he didn’t inform them of the $60,000 he transferred from JavaPop’s line of credit with Bank of America into a brokerage account in his name. The indictment alleges that he then used the funds for “his own benefit and enjoyment.”
Months later, Hendler allegedly transferred $50,000 of the money in his brokerage account into a personal account with Key Bank. The very same day, according to the charges, he wired the same amount to an individual to pay part of a debt he owed.
Similar transfers for varying amounts are part of the fraud charges.
The indictment goes on to allege that Hendler sold the four Honda Elements that were used for company cars for JavaPop’s salespeople — a move that the board agreed to seeing the financial dire straits the were in by 2008 — however, Hendler is accused of depositing the $39,000 from a check from Shearer Honda for the cars, which was made out to “JavaPop Inc,” into a company checking account in Hanover and then into a personal account with TD Bank.
It’s two more charges of wire fraud, in which Hendler is accused of transferring criminally obtained funds totaling $58,000 for use on a down payment on his home at 21503 Orchard Hill Way in Woodstock, that make the house subject to forfeiture. The home was purchased by Hendler in 2006.
If convicted of all charges Hendler will face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. Federal sentencing guidelines will determine the sentence, according to court paperwork.
Hendler’s attorney, Brad Stetler, could not be reached for comment.
This article first appeared in the November 3rd edition of the Vermont Standard.