Worker sentenced for bilking Herman Miller out of $1.7M

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

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A former employee has been sentenced for a scheme that cost Herman Miller more than $1.7 million, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

Jerry Lee Akers, 54, was sentenced Tuesday to 41 months in federal prison for his role in defrauding the furniture manufacturer in a vendor invoicing scheme with Kevin Grimm, of Coopersville.

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney also ordered Akers to serve two years of supervised release, pay $507,309.14 in restitution and forfeit $507,309.14 to the government.

Akers, of Spring Lake, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In December 2016, Aker admitted to working with Grimm to bill Herman Miller for $1,772,726 in natural gas never delivered by using Grimm’s company, KJ Gas Transportation, LCC. The scheme ran from June 2010 to July 2015, the release said.

Akers was a senior energy manager and facilities manager for the Zeeland-based business. The U.S. Attorney’s Office had said he was responsible for Herman Miller’s energy-related programs, including fulfilling the company’s natural gas requirements.

Grimm pleaded guilty on March 21 to conspiring with Akers to defraud the furniture manufacturer. He will be sentenced on July 10.

The duo have collectively returned $1,265,417 they stole during the scheme, according to the release.