Former Financial Manager Sentenced to Prison for Embezzling Over $1.4 Million From Employer
BATON ROUGE, LA – Acting United States Attorney Corey R. Amundson, announced today that U.S. District Court Judge John W. deGravelles sentenced WADE BARBAY, age 55, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to serve twenty-nine (29) months in federal prison as a result of his scheme to defraud his employer. BARBAY was ordered to pay restitution of $1,483,503.50 to the victim and to serve a two (2) year term of supervised release after his release from imprisonment. BARBAY was also ordered to forfeit all property traceable to the gross proceeds of the scheme.
On March 22, 2017, BARBAY pled guilty to wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. BARBAY was the Director of Shared Services, which oversaw Axiall’s corporate credit card program. Between January of 2011 and May of 2016, BARBAY engaged in a scheme to defraud his employer, using material false pretenses and wire communications to execute his scheme. The scheme involved BARBAY submitting fraudulently inflated business expenses of other employees for payment to Axiall’s headquarters. After the company paid American Express, the defendant directed American Express to credit his account with the 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, a subsidiary of Westlake Chemical, 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.
U.S. Attorney Amundson stated, “My office will continue to make fraud and embezzlement prosecutions a high priority, as we work to hold corrupt insiders accountable. The defendant’s actions in this case were particularly egregious in that he betrayed the trust placed in him by his employer and used his fellow employees to line his own pockets. We hope that the lengthy federal prison sentence imposed in this case will send a strong message of deterrence.”
New Orleans FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeff Sallet said, "This sentencing should serve as a reminder that the FBI will investigate and prosecute individuals who abuse their positions to defraud their employers and co-workers who trust them. I commend the exceptional effort of the FBI, U.S. Attorney's Office, and our private partners in working together quickly to expose this massive fraud and to bring Mr. Barbay to justice."
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 United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica M.P. Thornhill.