News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Bonney Lake Resident Sentenced To Prison For $700,000+ Embezzlement From Hotel Group

Former Controller Fled to the Philippines when Theft was Discovered

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 11, 2013

            The former controller of a hotel group based in Tacoma, Washington was sentenced today to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release for six counts of wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  From 2007 to 2011, HUGO LINGAT CAINGAT, JR., 59, of Bonney Lake, Washington, was employed as a controller at Aspen Lodging Group, LLC (ALG).  The company owns several hotels in the United States including Hotel Murano in Tacoma.  From March 2010 to December 2011, CAINGAT diverted more than $700,000 in income from the hotel group into a dormant bank account.  Them he used that account to pay his bills, including significant gambling bills.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said, “the defendant was a man of skill and aptitude who gained the trust of his employer and then abused it.”

            According to records filed in the case, CAINGAT forged documents and signatures to execute his scheme.  He created duplicate invoices for inter-company payments totaling nearly $600,000, and eventually routed these payments into the dormant account.  From the dormant accounts the money went to pay his credit card bills.  CAINGAT was fired by the hotel group in December 2011 when the theft was discovered.  The case was ultimately referred to the FBI.  When agents interviewed CAINGAT at his home in May 2012, he indicated he wished to provide information on the scheme.  Instead, CAINGAT purchased a one way ticket to the Philippines.  CAINGAT was indicted by the grand jury in July 2012, and the process of extraditing CAINGAT from the Philippines had begun when he voluntarily returned to Washington State.  CAINGAT pleaded guilty in October 2012.

            In asking for a sentence of nearly three years, prosecutors noted that the scheme was sophisticated and lasted nearly two years.  “The defendant committed his embezzlement through multiple sub-schemes, which involved pre-configuring of a dormant account to pay his bills, transferring funds through multiple accounts, creating false inter-company payments, and forging another employee’s signature,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

            CAINGAT was ordered to pay $750,550 in restitution.  That amount includes $50,000 the company spent investigating the embezzlement.

            The case was investigated by the FBI.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Diggs.

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