ALBANY — A Minnesota man pleaded guilty Wednesday to defrauding two financing companies out of $13 million in a conspiracy with the owner of defunct Clifton Park firm MyPayrollHR.
Luke E. Steiner, age 31, faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced in federal court in Albany. As part of his plea, he agreed to pay full restitution.
The case came amid the continuing investigation of Michael T. Mann, 49, of Edinburg, owner of MyPayroll and numerous related companies. Authorities say that shortly after his scheme began to collapse in early September 2019, Mann admitted to investigators that he had run a nine-year, $70 million campaign of fraud.
Mann faces a federal charge of bank fraud. He and Steiner are the only people who have been charged in the investigation.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albany said Thursday that:
- Steiner worked at Optum, a division of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
- In his guilty plea, he admitted that between 2013 and September 2019 he conspired with Mann and others to fraudulently obtain millions of dollars in loans for Mann’s companies.
- Steiner admitted that he worked with Mann to induce financing companies to loan money on the basis of fake invoices purporting to show payments owed by Optum to Mann’s companies.
- Steiner’s role was to falsely represent to the financing companies that the fake invoices were valid and payable by Optum when, in fact, he knew that they were not.
- Steiner admitted that the conspiracy caused a total of $12,968,505 in losses to two financing companies, one based in New York and the other in Colorado.
The cases are being investigated by the FBI and are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Barnett and Cyrus P.W. Rieck.