News and Press Releases

U.S. Attorney Charges Former Central Leasing Corp. Executive With Wire Fraud

July 1, 2011

BIRMINGHAM – Federal prosecutors today charged a former equipment leasing company executive with wire fraud in connection to a $1.2 million embezzlement scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley, and Vestavia Hills Police Chief Dan Rary.

 A one-count information filed in U.S. District Court charges BARRY A. THOMAS, former chief financial officer for Central Leasing Corporation, with wire fraud for embezzling from the Birmingham-based company from July 2003 until his employment was terminated in August 2010.

Thomas, 48, of Birmingham, has entered a plea agreement with the government acknowledging his guilt. Prosecutors also filed that agreement in court today.

“Corporate fraud and embezzlement are serious crimes that damage more than just the financial health of the victim companies,” Vance said. “The livelihoods of those companies’ employees are put at risk, as is the financial health of the communities where the companies operate.”

According to the court documents, Thomas carried out his embezzlement as follows:

Part of his responsibilities as CFO was to handle payroll and payment of salaries for Central Leasing employees. In order to do that, he would send electronic communications, via the Internet, from his Birmingham office to the payroll and bookkeeping firm, QuickBooks/Intuit, in San Diego. The electronic file would set out the exact amount of money that was to be directly deposited into the personal accounts of Central Leasing employees. In many of these electronic communications, Thomas would direct the release of money to his personal account that exceeded what he should have received for his salary. The total amount Thomas obtained as a result of his embezzlement was about $1,226,277.

The maximum sentence for the wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The notice of forfeiture specifies a forfeiture amount of $1,126,277. Thomas has already made restitution of about $100,000.

The FBI and the Vestavia Hills Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney is prosecuting it.





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