Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Arrest Of Former Accounting Firm Partner For Stealing Nearly $4 Million In Client Payments
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Keith Milke, the Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), today announced the arrest of CRAIG B. HABER, a former partner of a global accounting firm, for stealing nearly $4 million in client payments intended for the firm. HABER was arrested by Postal Inspectors this morning at his residence in New York, New York, and will be presented this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman in Manhattan federal court.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “From his perch at a prestigious accounting firm, Craig Haber allegedly betrayed his partners, by deceiving the firm’s clients in order to rob the firm blind – diverting millions of dollars of client payments into his own pocket. Fraud is always serious, but it is especially alarming when, as alleged here, it is committed by professionals who are supposed to be gatekeepers responsible for ensuring financial rectitude.”
USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Keith Milke said: “Mr. Haber's alleged abuse of the trust given to him by his clients and employer is a classic example of greed overcoming honest business practices. His arrest should serve as a reminder that whenever someone uses the US Mail for illegal activities Postal Inspectors will bring them to justice.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
From 1993 through July 2012, HABER was a partner at a global accounting firm headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, that provided a variety of auditing, accounting, and tax preparation services to businesses and individuals in the U.S. and abroad (the “Accounting Firm”). HABER worked at the Accounting Firm’s office in New York, New York, and provided tax preparation and advisory services to investment partnerships and other clients of the firm.
The Accounting Firm’s bills to clients ordinarily included payment instructions directing clients to pay the firm by wire transfer or by sending checks to its headquarters in Chicago. However, on multiple occasions from 2004 through July 2012, HABER sent bills to clients containing payment instructions directing them to send checks to him at the Accounting Firm’s New York, New York, office instead of the Chicago headquarters.
Upon receiving those checks, HABER deposited a number of them into a bank account that he had opened in the name of a sham business that was very similar to the name of the Accounting Firm. HABER opened the bank account specifically to receive checks from clients that were intended for the Accounting Firm. After depositing the clients’ checks into that account, HABER then transferred the money from that account to two personal bank accounts which he used to pay various personal expenses, including mortgage payments for his residence in New York, New York.
HABER stole a total of nearly $4 million in client payments.
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HABER, 59, is charged with one count of mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss from the offense.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the USPIS.
The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Facciponti is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.