Former 3M Engineer Gets 51 Mos. for Stealing $5.6M

David Beulke was sentenced to more than four years in prison and three years of supervised release for bilking $5.6 million from 3M Company through the creation of fake shell companies.

David Beulke-a former 3M engineer from Brookings, South Dakota-was sentenced Friday to 51 months in prison and three years of supervised release for bilking $5.6 million from the Maplewood-based company through fake shell companies he created.

Beulke, who pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in December after being charged by way of information in November, was also ordered to pay $5.6 million in restitution to 3M.

According to the South Dakota U.S. Attorney's office, Beulke was previously employed as an engineer at a 3M plant in Brookings. While employed by the company, he created fake shell companies and presented them to 3M as legitimate vendors of specialized parts.

3M placed orders for parts from the fake shell companies while Beulke allegedly knew that those orders were fraudulent. Beulke kept the money 3M sent for the parts-which were never delivered-for his own personal use.

The government claims that Beulke deposited the money into various accounts, then spent some and transferred other portions into investment and retirement accounts. The fraud allegedly took place between February 1993 and September 2008 and netted Beulke more than $5.6 million.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange ordered Beulke's attorney to pay more than $1.2 million that had been held in an attorney trust account in restitution. The government has already seized nearly $2.5 million from Beulke's retirement and investment accounts.