Former Financial Manager Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Over $1.4 Million From Employer
BATON ROUGE, LA – Acting United States Attorney Corey Amundson announced today that WADE BARBAY, age 54, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has pled guilty before U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles to engaging in a wire fraud scheme to defraud his former employer Axiall Corporation. Through the scheme, BARBAY embezzled approximately $1,406,080. His sentencing date has not yet been determined.
During today’s hearing, the defendant admitted to using his position as Director of Shared Services, which oversaw Axiall’s corporate credit card program, to embezzle more than $1.4 million from the organization from January of 2011 through May of 2016. BARBAY did so by submitting fraudulently-inflated business expenses of other employees for payment to Axiall’s headquarters, causing the company to pay the inflated amounts to American Express. The defendant then directed American Express to credit his account with the fraudulently-inflated funds. Through this scheme, the defendant embezzled over $1,125,000. In addition, the defendant’s scheme included negotiating and depositing corporate refund checks into his personal bank account, totaling approximately $280,430. In total, over the course of a five-and-a-half-year period, the defendant fraudulently obtained over $1.4 million from his former employer.
Axiall Corporation is an international manufacturer and supplier of products derived from petrochemicals. The company is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and employs approximately 9,000 people in more than 42 facilities worldwide. One of Axiall’s facilities is located in Plaquemine, Louisiana. The defendant worked at this facility in a financial capacity for over 24 years.
Acting U.S. Attorney Amundson stated, “Fraud schemes perpetrated by insiders, particularly those entrusted with an organization’s finances, pose a serious threat to all organizations and, by extension, their employees. Our office will continue to aggressively pursue such matters, along with the FBI and our other excellent federal, state, and local partners. Once identified, these fraudsters must not be allowed to simply move to their next victim employer. Employers and law enforcement must work together to stop them. I thank the victim organization for uncovering the fraud and assisting in this important matter.”
FBI Special Agent-In-Charge Jeffrey S. Sallet stated: "I applaud the men and women of the FBI's Baton Rouge Resident Agency and U.S. Attorney’s Office for their aggressive work to help root out white collar crime within Louisiana. This is yet another example of how greed has driven an individual to enrich himself through dishonesty and theft. The arms of justice have a long reach and with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we will continue to pursue such criminals."
This matter is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana and the Baton Rouge Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica M.P. Thornhill.