GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After co-devising a scheme to steal $1.8 million from office furniture giant Herman Miller, former Herman Miller manager Jerry Lee Akers is going to prison.

54-year-old Akers was sentenced to 41 months in prison for a vendor-invoicing scheme. The scheme involved bilking $1.8 million from Herman Miller over a five-year period for natural gas services that were never provided.

Akers was also ordered to serve two years of supervised released at the conclusion of his sentence, and pay back $507,309.14 in restitution, in addition to forfeiting an additional $507,309.14 to the government.

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Ex-Herman Miller exec accused of stealing $1.8 million from furniture maker

Former Herman Miller executive Jerry Lee Akers is facing felony charges that he bilked the office furniture manufacturer of $1.773 million over a five-year period for natural gas services that were never provided.


Akers pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud for the scheme, which ran from 2010 to 2015. The scheme involved co-conspirator Kevin Grimm, who created a company, KJ Gas Transportation, and submitted fraudulent invoices for payment. Grimm’s company never provided any gas or transportation services to Herman Miller, as falsely shown in invoices Grimm sent to Herman Miller staff members.

Akers was convicted of his role in the scheme last December: accepting cash payments from Grimm on the inside.

Prior to Akers' sentencing, he and Grimm returned the fraudulent funds they received from the scheme. Akers’ sentence reflects the government’s recommendation that he should receive a reduced sentence for his help in the investigation and prosecution of Grimm.

Grimm was indicted by a federal grand jury in February, and pled guilty on March 21. He is to be sentenced on July 10.