Miles indicted for embezzlement by federal grand jury

A federal grand jury has indicted the owner of a closed Charleston heating and air-conditioning contractor on charges of embezzling about $17,800 from an employee retirement plan.

Leonard P. Miles Jr., also known as Perry Miles, is president and owner of Wappoo Oil Service Inc., which did business as Wappoo Service Heating & Air Conditioning in West Ashley.

Miles also was the plan administrator for the contractor’s individual retirement account, which was funded with withholdings from employee paychecks.

He took the money from the IRA for his personal use between January 2007 and July 2009, according the indictment filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

The government is seeking an order requiring Miles to repay the money or forfeit property or other assets equal to the value of the stolen funds. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A filing with the S.C. Secretary of State shows that Wappoo Oil Service was formed in 1961 on Folly Road. Wappoo Service Heating & Air Conditioning operated on Belgrade Avenue, between Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and Wappoo Road. It is no longer in business.

Miles and the company were sued in 2010 under an effort to recoup nearly $39,000 that the U.S. Department of Labor said should have been put toward employee retirement savings.

The lawsuit alleged he diverted the IRA contributions to his company’s operating fund during a 15-month period starting in 2007. The agency was tipped off by a Wappoo Service employee.

Miles never responded to the lawsuit, court records show. The case was closed in October when a judge issued a $38,750 default judgment against him.

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