By Bria Brown

LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) — A man who handled finances at a Lake Michigan ferry company has been sentenced to more than five years in federal prison for a scheme to steal money from the business.

Piper was the controller at Lake Michigan Carferry, which operates the S.S. Badger between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. He also had a local accounting business and a coffee shop.

Piper admits he wrote checks to himself or his related businesses, stealing at least $1.7 million between 2007 and May 2018.

“His greed caused significant financial damage to one of the largest employers” in the Ludington area, U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said after Piper got his sentence Thursday.

Piper also pleaded guilty to a tax crime and agreed to pay $363,926 to the Internal Revenue Service.

“He made the poor decision to write checks to himself to cover extra expenses and to help family members. … Mr. Piper takes full responsibility for his actions and for the trust he betrayed,” defense attorney attorney Matthew Borgula said in a court filing.

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