A former employee of a Blaine metal-stamping company pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing more than $1.1 million from his employer to fund his car restoration hobby, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in St. Paul announced Friday.

John Burwood Robinson, 50, of Crystal, was charged on July 26 with one count of mail fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. Robinson pleaded guilty before Judge Paul Magnuson in U.S. District Court in St. Paul. A sentencing date has not been set.

In 2003, Robinson was promoted to controller at North Central Stamping & Manufacturing Inc., where he managed the company’s bank accounts, bookkeeping records and financial reports, according to plea deal documents.

He opened a bank account in North Central’s name without the company’s authorization or knowledge and then deposited payments from customers into that account, then stole $1,163,366.97, the documents say.

Robinson, who had worked at the company for 25 years, used the money to “pay for his own personal expenses, to fund his hobby of buying and restoring automobiles and automobile parts, and to pay for a storage facility to store the automobiles and parts,” according to a news release announcing the plea.

In addition to the theft, Robinson also admitted to filing false tax returns by understating his total income from 2009 to 2015 in order to lower his tax liability and to avoid detection of his scheme. In total, the total tax loss was nearly $291,800.


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