News and Press Releases

Former Central Leasing Corp. Executive Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

September 2 1, 2011

BIRMINGHAM – A former equipment leasing company executive pleaded guilty today in federal court to 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.

BARRY A. THOMAS, 48, former chief financial officer for Central Leasing Corporation, entered his plea before U.S. District Court Judge R. David Proctor to one count of wire fraud for embezzling from the Birmingham-based company from July 2003 until his employment was terminated in August 2010. Prosecutors charged Thomas in July. His sentencing date has not been set.

“Companies and the communities in which they operate are harmed when corporate officials choose to defraud and steal from their employers,” Vance said. “These are serious crimes that put the health of the company at risk and, therefore, also put the livelihood of the company’s employees at risk,” she said.

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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