Former Operations Manager Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $2.6 Million+ From Italian Shipping Company
A Euless woman pleaded guilty on Friday to embezzling more than $2.6 million from her former employer, an international global logistics and freight forwarding company, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
Vika Latai Moa, 36, was charged via felony information on March 17 and pleaded guilty to wire fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma Ramirez on March 27.
In court documents, Ms. Moa admitted that between June 2016 and October 2019, she was employed as an operations manager at Savino Del Bene USA, Inc. (Savino USA) in the Dallas area.
Savino USA, headquartered in New Jersey, is the American subsidiary of Savino Del Bene S.p.A., a global logistics and freight forwarding company based in Florence, Italy. Among other things, Savino USA provides transportation services to its customers in the United States by subcontracting local deliveries to third-party trucking companies.
In her role at Savino USA, Ms. Moa was responsible for selecting and paying these local subcontractors.
Between June 2016, and October 2019, Ms. Moa falsely represented to Savino USA employees that invoices for trucking services were owed, which caused Savino USA to pay more than $2.6 million to a bank account to which she had access.
For instance, as part of her scheme to misappropriate funds from Savino USA, Ms. Moa misrepresented to Savino USA employees that a fictitious business was an actual transportation company. She created fraudulent invoices for trucking services that the fictitious business purportedly provided to Savino USA.
Ms. Moa then directed Savino USA to pay the fictitious business based on these false invoices, knowing full well that the company did not perform any services for Savino USA, as it was not a real business and did not have any operations
Ms. Moa faces up to 20 years in federal prison. As part of the plea agreement, she also agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $2,623,888.44. Her sentencing is scheduled for September 22 before U.S. District Court Judge Karen Gren Scholer.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Fabio Leonardi is prosecuting the case.