Worker accused of bilking Herman Miller out of $1.7 million

Jerry Akers
An undated courtesy photo of Jerry Akers. (Jerry Akers/LinkedIn)

ZEELAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A Herman Miller employee is facing federal charges for allegedly bilking Herman Miller out of more than $1.7 million.

Jerry Lee Akers is charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.

Akers is a senior energy manager and facilities manager for the Zeeland-based business. U.S. Attorney Pat Miles says he’s responsible for Herman Miller’s energy-related programs, including fulfilling the company’s natural gas requirements.

In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, Miles says Akers plotted with another person to bill Herman Miller for natural gas they never provided to the company. The two allegedly created and emailed fake invoices to Herman Miller, which sent its payments by mail.

The pair allegedly collected $1,772,726 from June 2010 to July 2015, when Herman Miller ended the contract.

Miles said while Akers’ unnamed partner sent the bills and collected the payments, Akers took cash payments from his co-conspirator.

A LinkedIn account in Akers’ name says he is still employed at Herman Miller, however it’s unclear when he last updated the profile page.

Miles is seeking full restitution from Akers, if he is convicted.