Former QVC Director Sentenced to 30 Months in Federal Prison for Million-Dollar Fraud Scheme
PHILADELPHIA – First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that James D. Falkowski, 42, of Buffalo, New York, was sentenced today to 30 months in federal prison.
Falkowski operated a multi-faceted fraud scheme while working as a director at QVC, Inc., an American cable, satellite, and broadcast television network and multinational corporation specializing in televised and internet home shopping based in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Falkowski previously pled guilty on March 20, 2018 to 11 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. At the sentencing hearing today, United States District Judge Michael M. Baylson also ordered that the defendant pay $832,138.55 in restitution.
“This defendant used his position, his access, and his employer to fund a lifestyle that would have otherwise been beyond his reach,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Williams. “Today’s sentence should serve as a deterrent to anyone who believes he can steal from his employer and successfully cover his tracks.”
Falkowski – a director from 2008 until his termination in 2013 – was responsible for enhancing QVC’s brand and reputation in the entertainment and fashion industries. Falkowski used his position at QVC to embezzle and fraudulently obtain from QVC over $1,000,000 worth of money, goods, and services, all without QVC’s knowledge or approval. These luxuries included hundreds of thousands of dollars of first-class travel, hotel and resort stays, spa treatments, dining at upscale restaurants, luxury clothing and accessories, and personal medical treatments, such as Botox treatment.
To hide his actions from QVC, Falkowski created fake invoices purporting to be from The Four Seasons Hotels, luxury car service companies, and other vendors in order to deceive QVC into paying for Falkowski’s fraud. Falkowski also enlisted the assistance of two QVC vendors to help him defraud QVC. Those two vendors – Los Angeles-based public relations agency “The Steinberg Group,” doing business as “dOMAIN,” and a New York City-based production management company – agreed to submit fraudulently altered invoices and bills to QVC in order to hide Falkowski’s embezzlement.
Additionally, Falkowski caused QVC to pay over $200,000 in private luxury chauffeur rides for himself and his associates, approximately $70,000 in payments to his personal creditors, as well as $59,500 in gift cards from American Express, Tom Ford, and Barney’s New York that Falkowski claimed were for distribution to talent, but which he instead used for himself.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Mannion.