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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 1, 2016

Chief Financial Officer Of Furniture Company Pleads Guilty To $18 Million Accounting Fraud Against Bank And Gas City, Indiana

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Diego Rodriguez, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that NORMAN D’SOUZA, the former chief financial officer and vice president of finance of a New Jersey-based furniture wholesaler and retailer (“Company-1”) and an Indiana-based furniture manufacturer affiliated with Company-1 (“Company-2”), pled guilty today to participating in a fraudulent scheme to obtain $17 million in loans from a commercial bank based in New York, New York (the “Bank”) and $1 million in municipal loans from Gas City, Indiana (the “City”), by making false statements and providing false and fraudulent documents concerning the Companies’ financial condition.  D’SOUZA pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams.  

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As he admitted in court today, Norman D’Souza repeatedly misrepresented the financial condition of two companies to deceive a bank and a municipality into lending the companies $18 million dollars, which was never repaid.  Together with our partners at the FBI, we will continue to aggressively pursue accounting frauds like this one, which caused millions of dollars in losses.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez said: “The charges that D'Souza pleaded guilty to are an example of how accounting frauds can lead to large financial losses to banks. Financial fraudsters believe their schemes, whether complex or unsophisticated, will persist undetected. However, when the numbers don't add up, the FBI will unravel the scheme and root out who is responsible.”

According to the allegations contained in the Information to which D’SOUZA pled guilty and statements made during D’SOUZA’s plea proceeding:

From in or about 2011 until in or about September 2014, Company-1, through D’SOUZA and others, fraudulently induced the Bank into lending Company-1 millions of dollars by repeatedly making false and misleading statements about Company-1’s financial condition.  D’SOUZA falsely inflated Company-1’s sales and accounts receivable on “borrowing base certificates” and in financial statements that D’SOUZA provided to the Bank pursuant to loan agreements.  D’SOUZA used those falsely inflated sales and accounts receivable to mislead the Bank about Company-1’s true financial performance, which enabled Company-1 to secure and draw down a $17 million revolving credit facility from the Bank.  Company-1 ultimately defaulted on the loans issued by the Bank in September 2014.  At that time, the outstanding balance of the loans was approximately $16.99 million.

Separately, in 2012, the City offered loans and other financial incentives to Company-2 in return for Company-2’s agreement to operate a furniture factory in the City and employ local residents.  Among other things, D’SOUZA falsely inflated Company-2’s sales figures in financial statements provided to the City.  The false financial statements misled the City about Company-2’s true financial performance and enabled Company-2 to secure and draw down more than $1 million in loans from the City.  Company-2 ultimately defaulted on the loans issued by the City in September 2014.  At that time, the outstanding balance of the loans was $1 million.

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D’SOUZA, 50, of Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. D’SOUZA is scheduled to be sentenced on July 22, 2016, before Judge Abrams.

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward A. Imperatore is in charge of the prosecution.

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Updated April 1, 2016