COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A Columbus man caught in a fraud scheme will have to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio announced Thursday.

A judge sentenced Marcus C. Beatty, 55, to three years in federal prison, and ordered him to repay $486,408.55 in stolen funds from Ohio’s unclaimed fund trust. U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker’s office said Beatty used an “intricate process” to steal money from the state’s trust from June 2011 to at least 2018.

When accounts with financial institutions are inactive for a certain amount of time, their funds become “unclaimed” and are turned over to Ohio’s Division of Unclaimed Funds. Beatty’s process involved identifying businesses in the state whose registrations were canceled, then using fraudulent paperwork to renew them with the Ohio Secretary of State.

Beatty would then change the names of these resurrected companies to match business names that had unclaimed funds held by the state. He filed fraudulent claims with the Division of Unclaimed Funds to rake in money he wasn’t actually owed.

Parker said Beatty was able to get ahold of unclaimed funds that belonged to five different Ohio companies, and filed fake claims with similar agencies in Alabama, Nebraska, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud related to the case in October 2022. This wasn’t his first fraud stint either, as Beatty had previously spent nearly three years in prison for a separate scheme in 2006.