A Palo Cedro man has entered a guilty plea to a federal charge of embezzling his employees’ retirement funds. 59-year-old Maurice “Buddy” Shoe was the founder and CEO of Joined Inc., which provided student recruitment and retention services to Christian universities all over the country. Employees had a 401(K) plan that withheld funds from their paychecks for contributions to their retirement fund. For most of 2015, Shoe skimmed almost $125,000 of that money and kept it for himself. Joined Inc. had a long history of legal troubles, including accusations of failing to pay employees. In 2019 North Greenville University in South Carolina was fined $2.5 Million for using the services of Joined Inc., which got half the tuition money for each student recruited. The law prohibits colleges that receive federal student aid from using such incentive-based recruitment services. Even though Shoe was part of the scheme, he was paid $375,000 of the fine as a whistleblower reward. He’ll be sentenced in August for the 401(K) theft and faces up to 5 years in federal prison and a Quarter-Million Dollar fine.