Bergen County, New Jersey, Man Arrested For Embezzling More Than $6 Million From North Jersey Business
NEWARK, N.J. – The former chief financial officer of a Bergen County business was arrested at home this morning by special agents of the FBI for allegedly embezzling nearly $6.3 million from the company, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Gomidas Garabed Hartounian, 50, of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of wire fraud. He is expected to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III in Newark federal court.
According to the complaint:
From April 2007 through April 2014, Hartounian was the CFO for “Company A,” a for-profit company with its principal place of business in Englewood, New Jersey. Hartounian is also the sole owner of MGB LLC, a company registered to his residence.
During the time that Hartounian was with Company A, he fraudulently designated MGB as a vendor in Company A’s accounting system without disclosing that he controlled MGB. Hartounian then directed Company A employees to issue checks to MGB for freight services that MGB supposedly provided Company A. When asked for the MGB invoices, he claimed that he was maintaining them in his office.
Because Hartounian didn’t have sole signatory power, he forged the signatures of the chief executive officer or the chief operating officer before depositing the checks into bank accounts that he controlled. Hartounian also had checks issued directly from Company A bank accounts to pay for his personal expenses, including real estate taxes, motor vehicle expenses and credit card payments. Hartounian allegedly stole nearly $6.3 million from the victim company.
The wire fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss resulting from the crime.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana W. Chen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.