U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that DON MANUEL ZEMO, JR., age 55, a resident of River Ridge, Louisiana, was charged yesterday in a one-count bill of information with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. ' 371, for his role in stealing over $1,000,000 from his employer, a privately owned and operated company that provided portside services as a terminal operator and stevedore at the Port of New Orleans.
According to the bill of information, ZEMO was hired in 1999. Between 2003 and 2015, he served as the General Manager of Port Operations. In that capacity, ZEMO oversaw and managed Company A’s day-to-day operations at Company A’s terminal at the Port of New Orleans, including handling all financial documentation, personnel decisions, job scheduling, implementing of Company A’s policies at Company A’s Port of New Orleans terminal, and facilitating the billing of Company A’s customers.
In about August 2009, R.Z. formed U.S. Gulf Trade, Inc., and until July 2015, ZEMO diverted approximately $1,033,639.54 over the course of eighty (80) transactions from Company A to himself and U.S. Gulf Trade. ZEMO did so by representing to Company A’s customers that USGT, and not Company A, had provided certain services and material to the customer when, in fact, Company A’s equipment, employees, and material was used to provide the services and directing customers to transmit payments to USGT, not Company A, for the services rendered and material provided, without Company A’s knowledge or authorization..
If convicted, ZEMO faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, a fine of up to $250,000.00, three years supervised release after imprisonment, and a mandatory $100 special assessment.
U. S. Attorney Evans reiterated that a bill of information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg is in charge of the prosecution.