Bakersfield Man Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison for Role in Fraudulent Transfer of Funds from a Victim’s Brokerage Account
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Christopher Firle, 53, of Fairfield, was sentenced today to three years and five months in prison for a four-year embezzlement scheme of over $1.9 million from his employer, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, Firle was the Chief Financial Officer of a holding company that managed several vehicle dealerships. From January 2016 through September 2019, Firle misappropriated over $1.9 million from the company. He carried out his embezzlement scheme in multiple ways, including by using company credit cards to pay for over $750,000 in personal expenses. The unauthorized charges included tickets to sporting events and purchases at several retail stores, including Bergdorf Goodman, Chanel, Hermès, Nordstrom, and Tiffany & Co. Firle also initiated over 30 unauthorized wire transfers from the company to a family member. Those transfers totaled over $500,000. Additionally, Firle issued over 30 unauthorized company checks to himself that totaled over $165,000, and he withdrew more than $50,000 from a company account without authorization. Finally, Firle issued himself excess bonus payments totaling almost $160,000.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Thuesen prosecuted the case.
Firle was also ordered to pay $1,937,706 in restitution to his former employer and to forfeit $1,652,269 to the United States.