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OCTOBER 31, 2011

BOSTON - A Watertown man was convicted today in federal court of bank fraud and forging securities charges in connection with his theft of more than $409,000 from the Cambridge company for which he served as controller.

MARTIN J. KESTLER, 39, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Denise J. Casper to five counts of bank fraud and five counts of uttering forged securities.

Had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that KESTLER was employed as the controller at Seidler Bernstein, Inc. (SBI), a Cambridge-based advertising agency specializing in the health care field. Between 2007 and 2010, KESTLER forged his employer’s signature on 31 company checks totaling $409,061 which he then deposited into his personal bank account. KESTLER also modified SBI’s general ledger so that the entries relating to the 31 checks falsely identified a vendor and an associated service for the purported payment.

Judge Casper scheduled sentencing for Feb. 8, 2012. KESTLER faces up to 30 years in federal prison to be followed by five years of supervised release, and a $1 million fine on each of the bank fraud charges. On the forged securities charges, he faces up to 10 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and a fine of $818,123.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra S. Bower of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.



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