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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mandeville Man Pleads Guilty to Embelzzling $2.8 Million from his Employer

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that MICHAEL SAPERA,   of Mandeville, pled guilty as charged today to a four-count Bill of Information which charged him with bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344, 1028A, and 1343.  SAPERA committed these violations when he embezzled approximately $2.8 million from his employer over a 19-year period.

According to court documents, SAPERA, a Certified Public Accountant (“CPA”), was employed at Company “A,” a retail clothing business headquartered in New Orleans, beginning in 1990.  SAPERA most recently functioned as the Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) and Director of Information Technology for Company “A.”  As the CFO of Company “A,” SAPERA had access to all corporate bank accounts as well as access to the corporate PayPal account.

First, beginning in July 1996, and continuing through April 2014, SAPERA stole approximately $2,192,500 in corporate checks belonging to Company “A.”  SAPERA forged the signature of his employer on approximately 430 stolen corporate checks which SAPERA then endorsed to himself.  SAPERA then deposited the stolen checks into his personal bank account.

Next, beginning on July 15, 2011, and continuing to August 18, 2014, SAPERA transferred corporate funds from Company “A’s” bank account to SAPERA’s personal account without authorization, consent, or knowledge by the owners of Company “A.”  In total, SAPERA initiated and caused 45 wire transfers from Company “A’s” bank account to his personal bank account totaling $582,080.

Finally, beginning on June 16, 2014, and continuing to October 1, 2014, SAPERA transferred $35,000 in corporate funds from Company “A’s” PayPal account to SAPERA’s personal PayPal account without authorization, consent, or knowledge by the owners of Company “A.”  SAPERA then transferred the money into his personal bank account.

In all, SAPERA’S criminal conduct resulted in an illegal gain to him in the amount of $2,809,580, and caused his employer/victim, Company “A,” to incur a total loss for restitution purposes of approximately $2,847,752.

As part of the guilty plea, SAPERA executed a plea agreement and factual basis summarizing the evidence in support of the charges contained in the Bill of Information.  U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon set sentencing on May 28, 2015.        

U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter. Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, Assistant United States Attorney Matt Coman is in charge of the prosecution.

Updated February 26, 2015