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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Man Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Multimillion-Dollar Scheme To Defraud Financial Services Firm

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today that CHRISTOPHER CANALE was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft for allegedly using his position at a global financial services firm (the “Firm”) to defraud the Firm out of at least $7 million over a thirteen-year period.  CANALE was arrested this morning in Poughkeepsie, New York, and will be presented later today in federal court in the Southern District of New York.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “As alleged, Christopher Canale took advantage of his position as an accounts payable manager and used his employer’s bank accounts as his own, siphoning off millions to pay for personal expenses, including an outdoor pool, vacations, and luxury cars. Thanks to the efforts of the FBI and prosecutors in our Office, Christopher Canale’s alleged thirteen-year fraud scheme has come to an end.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “It would make most of our lives easier to know there was a large stash of cash in the bank, and we didn’t have to worry about the cost of landscaping the yard, putting in a pool or buying a luxury car. However in this case, the alleged suspect did those things using money that wasn’t his. Making matters worse, he’s accused of forging his boss’s name. The FBI is dedicated to the pursuit of those who steal from our financial community.”     

According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:[1]

From 2003 to September 2016, CANALE, a former accounts payable manager at the Firm, abused his position at the Firm to embezzle at least $7 million.  CANALE accomplished this fraud by making unauthorized wire transfers and by cashing checks without authorization.

In some instances, CANALE effected the fraud by inputting fake invoices and wire transfer instructions into one of the Firm’s software programs.  In other instances, CANALE made checks out to petty cash, forged the name of his former supervisor on those checks, and kept the cash. 

CANALE used the Firm’s funds to pay for numerous exorbitant personal expenses, including an outdoor pool, an outdoor sound system, landscaping for his home, and at least one luxury car.  CANALE also paid bills for a credit card account and sent approximately $40,000 in wire transfers to another individual.

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CANALE, 47, of Poughkeepsie, New York, is charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, and one count of bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  CANALE is also charged with one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  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 work of the FBI.  He added that the investigation is continuing.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer L. Beidel is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

17-053
Topic: 
Drug Trafficking
Updated February 15, 2017