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Plyler pleads guilty in Pfeiffer case

A former chief financial officer for Pfeiffer University has plead guilty to a charge of making a “materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement” in connection to a loss of more than half a million dollars.

Jeffrey Byron Plyler, 57, who worked as the chief financial officer for Pfeiffer University from October 2013 to October 2018, plead guilty in connection to a forged signature on an Internal Revenue Service Form W-9. Plyler forged the signature to receive payment from Pfeiffer on a fraudulent invoice, records show. He had been implicated in a scheme that took more than $525,000 from the small private university in Misenheimer over a four-year period from January 2014 until the fraudulent activity was discovered in September 2018.

Plyler appeared in federal court Monday where he was given a $10,000 unsecured bond. He signed a plea agreement April 2.

“Mr. Plyler held a position of trust as CFO of Pfeiffer University. Instead of
fulfilling that trust, he exploited it for his own gain. Let this be a lesson that federal
authorities will address fraud in this district,” said U.S. Attorney Martin. “I commend the FBI, U.S. Postal Investigation Service, and AUSA McFadden for their excellent work.”

Court documents describe how Plyler allegedly created illegitimate invoices for payments to an insurance agent.

According to the court records, Plyler secured the funds by submitting a check request for the fictitious invoices to the Pfeiffer payroll manager. Plyler would then submit the approved check requests to Pfeiffer’s accounts payable manager and personally retrieve the checks once issued, representing that he would hand deliver the payments to the vendor.

The court documents state Plyler would then deposit the check into an account he could access. These checks date from Jan. 23, 2014 to Sept. 11, 2018.

According to the file, Plyler confessed to the charges.

Plyler initially told Pfeiffer officials looking into the payments that he had a verbal agreement with Pfeiffer interim president Dr. Jerry Boone for the payments. Boone denied he ever made such an agreement with Plyler.

“We are grateful for the work that has been done to bring this situation to a conclusion,” Pfeiffer President Colleen Keith wrote in an email Friday.

Plyler faces a maximum penalty of 60 months confinement. The plea
agreement requires he make restitution of $527,350.00. Sentencing
will happen at 2 p.m. Aug. 19 in Greensboro.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United
States Postal Inspection Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States
Attorney JoAnna G. McFadden.

Imari Scarbrough contributed to this article.