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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

Friday, February 28, 2014

San Diego Cfo Embezzles His Way Into Rancho Santa Fe And The High Life

CFO Admits To Diverting $2.4 Million From WSA Distributing, Inc. For His Personal Use

United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy today announced the arraignment and guilty plea of Alfonso Fierro, Jr., for stealing millions of dollars from his employer, WSA Distributing, Inc., a wireless handset distributor headquartered in San Diego.

According to court documents, Alfonso Fierro, Jr. worked as WSA Distributing’s Corporate Controller from 2008 through 2012. In 2012, he was promoted to Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) of the company. From September 2011 through December 2013, Fierro abused his position within the company to steal millions of dollars in company funds. Among other things, he forged the authorized signatures on WSA checks; made false statements on WSA letterhead about his income; falsified WSA’s corporate books and records to cover up his thefts, and concealed material information about his scheme from his employer. All told, Fierro admitted forging 110 WSA checks, totaling $2,480,967.11.

As revealed today in court, Fierro used the stolen funds to catapult him instantaneously into the lifestyles of the rich and famous. His biggest purchase was a $2.79 million home in Rancho Santa Fe. To purchase his dream home, Fierro first forged the authorized signatures on a WSA check for $83,700 made out to an escrow account at Heritage Escrow set up for the purchase of the home. He then forged the authorized signatures on a WSA check for $988,000 made out to himself as the payee. A few days later, he used these funds to make a second escrow deposit in the amount of $767,100.

Instead of stealing all of the purchase money outright, Fierro next turned to deception of a different sort to pay the remaining balance on the house. He created a letter on WSA letterhead purportedly signed by WSA’s Chief Executive Officer. The letter falsely claimed that Fierro earned a base salary of $450,899.52 from WSA and was guaranteed an annual bonus of $200,000. Instead of over $650,000 a year, Fierro’s actual annual salary was $125,000. Heedless of the outright falsity, Fierro forged WSA’s CEO’s signature on the letter and submitted it to Bank of America in connection with his applications for two mortgages (in the amounts of $1,500,000 and $450,000) to complete the purchase of the house.

Fierro concealed his crime by, among other things, lying to WSA’s CEO about his purchase of the home. Fierro claimed that he was able to buy the Rancho Santa Fe home using $1 million his father had received from selling property in Mexico. Fierro hid the fact that that he was actually using misappropriated funds from WSA to purchase the property.

Fierro also acquired for himself the accoutrements of his newly rich lifestyle, complete with membership at an exclusive San Diego Country Club ($54,904 paid in forged WSA checks), luxury vehicles ($90,000 worth paid in forged WSA checks), plenty of fine jewelry and watches ($185,382 paid in forged WSA checks), and exclusive travel and accommodations (e.g., $67,000 in private jet airfare and $24,000 hotel accommodations for a December 2013 trip to Hawaii).

As part of his plea, Fierro will be required to pay WSA Distributing back the $2,480,967.11 he stole. He will next appear in court on May 30, 2014, at 9 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw.

Alfonso Fierro, Jr., 41 Rancho Santa Fe, California
Mail fraud, Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341 Maximum penalties: 20 years in custody; $250,000 fine; 3 years of supervised release; mandatory order of restitution to victims
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Updated July 23, 2015