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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Food Service Company Manager Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Over $402,000 In Customer Payments

Baltimore, Maryland - Cesar Raphael Barretto, age 44, of Severn, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud, in connection with a scheme to embezzle over $402,000 from the company where he worked.       

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Brian Murphy of the United States Secret Service - Baltimore Field Office.                                          

According to his plea agreement, Barretto was a territory manager for U.S. Foods, Inc., a company that distributed food and supplies to restaurants, hospitals, hotels, and other businesses.  Barretto worked out of the U.S. Foods office in Severn, where he was responsible for helping customers place orders for U.S. Foods products.  Barretto transmitted customer orders to the company electronically.  The orders were then sent to a regional distribution center where they were picked up by the customer, or picked up and delivered to the customer by Barretto.  In addition, Barretto tracked the sales of products in his region and was responsible for collecting the balances due on customers’ invoices.  When Barretto received a payment from a customer, he deposited it into the U.S. Foods bank account and emailed the company a collection report, which credited the customer’s account.

According to his plea agreement, from June 2010 through July 2012, Barretto defrauded one of U.S. Food’s customers, American Pollo Restaurant Group, by diverting over $402,000 in payments he received on their account to pay for cases of food that Barretto ordered for himself under the account of another U.S. Foods customer, a bakery located in Langley, Maryland, without that customer’s knowledge.

Specifically, Barretto admitted that he ordered cases of food from U.S. Foods for his own personal use, using the bakery customer’s account.  Barretto made sure those products were delivered to the US Foods’ warehouse in Severn, Maryland, where he could pick them up in his car.  Barretto paid for the unauthorized purchases by diverting a portion of the payments received from American Pollo to the bakery customer’s account.  In collection reports emailed to U.S. Foods, Barretto falsely listed some of American Pollo’s payments as credits to the bakery customer’s account, thereby paying off the outstanding balances created in that account by Barretto’s unauthorized purchases.  After Barretto picked up the products he purchased with embezzled funds, he sold them at a discounted price to a restaurant in Laurel, Maryland, in exchange for cash.

Over a two-year period, Barretto paid for more than 300 unauthorized food purchases from US Foods by creating and submitting false collection reports that transferred approximately $402,000 in collection payments from American Pollo to the bakery customer’s account.

As part of his plea agreement, Barretto will be required to pay restitution of $402,680, the full amount of the victim’s losses.

Barretto faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud.  U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III, has scheduled sentencing for July 23, 2015, at 9:30 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the U.S. Secret Service for its work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Martin J. Clarke, who is prosecuting the case.

Updated March 31, 2015