News and Press Releases

EMPLOYEE OF AUTO SUPPLIER SENTENCED TO 30 MONTHS IN
PRISON FOR EMBEZZLING NEARLY ONE MILLION DOLLARS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2011

Mateus Ribeiro Da Costa, a legal permanent resident of the United States and citizen of Brazil, received a 30-month sentence today for his conviction for wire fraud, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today. Ms. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

From 2007 through 2010, Da Costa embezzled nearly $1 million from his employer, Magneti Marelli North America, by submitting dozens of fraudulent invoices, false expense reports, and forged letters. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of investigators from MMNA, uncovered the scheme and arrested Da Costa as he was attempting to leave the United States on a flight to his home country of Brazil. Along with his prison sentence, Da Costa has been ordered to pay restitution to MMNA in the amount of $985,359.11.

The evidence uncovered by investigators revealed that, beginning in April 2007 and continuing through July 2010, Da Costa devised and executed his scheme to defraud his employer by telling MMNA officials that he was working with a vender, which he claimed was providing services in connection with MMNA’s contract with General Motors of Mexico. Da Costa told officials at MMNA that the vendor refused to be paid for their services via wire transfers or checks. Instead, Da Costa stated that the vendor required all customers, including MMNA, to pay their invoices via credit card. Da Costa convinced MMNA management to allow him to directly pay the vendor by using his corporate American Express credit card. MMNA management agreed that Da Costa could then seek reimbursement from MMNA for the payments that he represented he made to the vendor using his corporate credit card.

Beginning in April 2007, Da Costa created false expense reports, which included false or forged invoices from the vendor and detailed reports of the vendor’s activities justifying the invoices. In reality, the vendor was not performing any work for or providing any services to MMNA, and had not sent invoices to MMNA in several years.

Da Costa received multiple checks from MMNA to reimburse him for the amounts specified in the forged invoices that he represented he had paid with his corporate credit card. Da Costa made no payments to the vendor using his corporate credit card, but represented that he had made such payments when he submitted false expense reports and supporting documentation via emails to MMNA officials.

In June 2010, MMNA officials informed Da Costa that it would no longer allow payment to the vender via Da Costa’s corporate credit card. Instead, MMNA would pay the vendor’s invoices via wire transfers. In order to keep his scheme afloat, Da Costa then informed MMNA officials that the vender instructed him to ignore the wiring instructions on PDC’s invoices, and instead requested future payment be wired to an account that, unbeknownst to MMNA, had been established by Da Costa for the purpose of continuing his fraud of MMNA.

From approximately April 2007 through approximately June, 2010, Da Costa received approximately $985,359.11 in reimbursement payments from MMNA for invoices that Da Costa fraudulently represented were from the vender. Upon receiving these payments, Da Costa would deposit the money in his personal bank accounts, wire the money to Brazil, and/or spend the money on personal expenses, including luxury vacations, expensive meals, and property in Brazil.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Louis Gabel.

 

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