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Lexington man pleads guilty to embezzlement

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A Lexington man has pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $1 million from his Columbia employer.

William Tye Grisel, 39, pleaded guilty to wire fraud.

Grisel worked for Big Red Box, a waste management call center in Columbia, as a national Dumpster salesperson and later became the company’s information technology manager, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In that position, Grisel was responsible for the company’s computer hardware, phone systems and servers, computer systems and servers, proprietary software and email systems.

Grisel also was responsible for hiring, managing, tracking, and paying search optimization companies that generated marketing calls for Big Red Box. Federal prosecutors say Grisel started a company called Local List that generated no calls of its own but used the call lists of other SEOs, represented them as belonging to Local List, and billed Big Red Box for them.

In three years, Local List billed Big Red Box $1,049,996.

When Grisel stopped working full-time for Big Red Box in 2016, he started his own company, G5 Marketing, where, as an independent contractor through G5, he continued to receive $1,600 per month from Big Red Box, according to the release.

Grisel’s plea was accepted and a sentencing date will be set after the judge reviews a sentencing report.

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