NASHVILLE – A federal indictment was unsealed today, charging Chad William Rudicel, 52, formerly of Springfield, Tennessee, with seven counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle District of Tennessee. Rudicel was arrested by FBI agents at him home in Largo, Florida, earlier this morning.
According to the indictment, Rudicel owned Ellis & Rudicel Welding (E&R), a steel fabrication and welding company located in Springfield, Tennessee. In the summer of 2015, Rudicel offered to purchase Brown’s Welding and Steel Services / Brown Cliff Crane (Brown’s Welding), another steel welding and fabrication business. The owner of the business gave Rudicel access to the books and records of the business so that Rudicel could have the business appraised. Rudicel never actually purchased Brown’s Welding but instead, in the spring of 2016, Rudicel sought funding from Thermo Communications Funding, LLC (Thermo). As part of the loan agreement, Rudicel falsely claimed that E&R had performed work for Brown’s Welding in the amount of $279,700. E&R had not, in fact, performed any work for Brown’s Welding, and Brown’s Welding did not owe E&R any money. Rudicel gave Thermo fabricated invoices and forged the signature of the owner of Brown’s Welding on a number of documents. Further, Rudicel falsely represented to Thermo that the owner of Brown’s Welding had consented to the deal. Rudicel did not repay the loan to Thermo but instead, took out another loan in the amount of $25,000 from an investment company called New Hope Properties, LLC, which he promised to repay within two months. Rudicel opened a bank account in the name of “Brown’s Welding and Crane Service,” and deposited the check into that account. He then wrote Thermo a check for $25,000 out of that account, but that check was returned for insufficient funds because Rudicel had already spent the money he received from New Hope.
In March 2017, Rudicel applied for another loan, this time from Construction Finance LLC. Rudicel applied for that loan in the name of the owner of Brown’s Welding, without his knowledge, and forged the owner’s signature on several documents. Rudicel gave Construction Finance several false invoices and job contracts that made it appear that Brown’s Welding had entered into contracts with various clients, and that Brown’s Welding had subcontracted that work to E&R. Rudicel falsely made it appear as though E&R was owed approximately $531,000. Several of these false documents contained the forged signatures of a Brown’s Welding employee and representatives of the purported clients. In addition to the forged signatures, these invoices and contracts were false and fraudulent because neither E&R nor Brown’s Welding had entered into contracts with these clients, nor completed the work, nor were they owed money by any of these clients.
If convicted, Rudicel faces a mandatory two-year sentence on each aggravated identity theft count and up to 20 years and a $250,000 fine on each wire and mail fraud count.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn W. Booth is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.