Two Doomsday Preppers Are Accused Of Scamming $5 Million From A Tobacco Company

Yes, this happened in Florida.

A Florida couple has been accused of scamming over $5 million from a tobacco company to fund their doomsday prepping for the fall of the government, including buying gold, weapons, and a farm in rural Georgia.

Richard Camp, 35, and his wife Gretchen, 36, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of grand theft, organized fraud, and money laundering.

Gretchen worked as an accountant at Swisher International, a tobacco company in Jacksonville.

Arrest documents for the pair allege that since September 2017, Gretchen has created over $4 million in fake invoices from Lodge and Anchor, a company her husband’s friend owned — and Swisher paid the invoices.

Lodge and Anchor, a company based in Georgia, did not provide any services to Swisher. But after Swisher paid the fake invoices, large transfers were made from a Lodge and Anchor bank account to their joint account, with Richard signing the checks for expenditures, according to the arrest report.

Gretchen is also accused of stealing an additional $1.19 million by ensuring that refunds to Swisher from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were deposited directly into the couple’s personal bank account.

Gretchen allegedly confessed to faking the invoices and ensuring they were paid when confronted by company executives in December 2018.

“The suspects wife confessed that she had committed this offense at the direction of this suspect because he wanted more than she could afford to buy on her salary,” read the arrest report.

Gretchen earned $80,000, while her husband was unemployed.

Richard “was preparing for the fall of the US government,” according to his arrest report, and used the stolen money to build his doomsday arsenal.

The couple purchased a 460-acre farm in Georgia and built a cabin and outbuildings on it. They bought farm equipment, including tractors. A $500,000 condo was purchased in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Richard is accused of buying “significant sums” of gold, silver, firearms, and ammunition. Records show he purchased nine vehicles, including antique collectibles, since his alleged scam began. One vehicle cost $51,000.

The pair are banned from leaving the state, and their next court appearance will be Feb. 21.

"During the very early stages of any criminal case we are confident the public understands these are just allegations and Mr. Camp has not been convicted of any wrong doing," Richard's lawyer Jesse Dreicer told BuzzFeed News.

His wife's lawyer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.