Timber company owner sentenced for wire fraud

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PORTLAND — A timber company owner who pleaded guilty to wire fraud has been sentenced by a federal judge to a year and a half in prison.

William Claussen, 71, of Salem, Ore., is a former lawyer and owner of Caliber Forest Products.

The case stemmed from a business deal Claussen had with another company, Middleman Northwest. Middleman bought invoices at a discount from Caliber for shipments the forest products company made to buyers. Then, Middleman would collect the full payment due from the buyers.

Claussen, however, started selling invoices for products his company did not deliver.

When Middleman asked Claussen where the products were, Claussen lied that the lumber had not yet been delivered to the customer because of a shortage of railcars or that the customer was waiting for a buyer before paying.