A Ludington man had his first appearance in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids Thursday, and bond was set, as he faces federal bank fraud and income tax offenses.
Paul Patrick Piper of Ludington had the information in charging documents read to him in a 15-minute hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Phillip J. Green, according to online documents.
Piper was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond. As a condition of his release, he is not under supervision by the court, cannot apply for or enter into any loan or other credit transaction without written permission and he cannot travel outside the Western District of Michigan of the U.S. District Court.
He will receive a court-appointed defense attorney in the matter.
Piper will be formally arraigned on Wednesday, March 25.
He faces the charges as he allegedly defrauded financial institutions as well as Lake Michigan Carferry, the operator of the SS Badger, in the amount of at least $550,000 by overriding “normal accounting systems and writing checks directly to himself and to two of his affiliated businesses, Piper Tax & Accounting and Piper Group,” according to release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in February.
Piper is alleged to have either forged signatures of company owners on checks or used a signature stamp without the authorization of owners. He also allegedly hid the transactions in the accounting system by booking the checks to an insurance expense code and by “otherwise making false entries to balance company accounts,” according to the release.
Piper is also alleged to have filed false personal income tax returns with the IRS. In the release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office states Piper is alleged to have not indicated either the funds from Lake Michigan Carferry or other income from his tax service on his federal income tax returns.