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Press Release

Orange County Man Who Embezzled from Employer – while on Bond in another Federal Embezzlement Case – Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

          SANTA ANA, California – An Orange County man has pleaded guilty to embezzling approximately $1.4 million from his employer, a crime he committed when he was pending sentencing in another embezzlement case involving another former employer.

          Peter Suk Lee, 49, a resident of the City of Orange, pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon to a federal bank fraud charge and admitted that he embezzled company funds from Contempo Inc. USA, a family-owned, Los Angeles-based business that imports and distributes fashion accessories.

          As a result of this week’s guilty plea and the earlier federal charges, Lee faces a statutory maximum sentence of 90 years in federal prison when he is sentenced by United States District Judge David O. Carter on August 15.

From August 2014 through September 2015, Lee was the controller at Contempo. During this time, Lee embezzled money by forging the signatures of the company officers on 92 unauthorized checks that were made out to him and several associates. The total value of these checks was $1.38 million. Lee admitted that he deposited $393,400 embezzled from Contempo into his personal TD Ameritrade account, and caused other embezzled funds to be wired to casinos for his use.

At the time, Lee was free on bond and awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to wire fraud for embezzling money from another business. In that prior case, Lee admitted that he embezzled approximately $2.65 million from Glovis America, Inc., an Irvine-based automotive logistics company where Lee had been employed as the accounting manager.

In court on Monday, Lee also admitted that, between his stints at Glovis and Contempo, he embezzled from a third company. Lee specifically admitted that he stole approximately $70,000 from the Placentia-based Orion Technology, Inc.

“This defendant’s brazen theft of millions of dollars from three different employers in only a few years was extremely harmful to those companies,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “That Mr. Lee continued to victimize employers while pending sentencing on fraud charges makes his actions all the more outrageous.”

          This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Updated May 7, 2018

Press Release Number: 16-106