FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. – A former CFO of an Englewood electronics and household goods wholesaler was sentenced to three years in federal prison Thursday for embezzling more than $4 million – some of which he admitted using to pay property taxes on his Franklin Lakes home.
Gomidas Garabed Hartounian, 52, also admitted that he ducked more than $600,000 in federal income taxes during a previous plea to wire fraud and tax evasion.
For seven years, beginning in April 2007, Hartounian was the sole owner of a company registered to his residence that he posed as a vendor for the Englewood business without disclosing his involvement in it, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said Thursday afternoon.
Fishman said Hartounian directed employees of the Englewood family business – which the U.S. attorney didn't identify but Daily Voice learned was Harco Industries on Van Brunt Street -- to issue checks to his company for freight services that weren’t provided.
“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,” Fishman said.
Hartounian also had checks issued directly from the Englewood business’ bank accounts to pay for his personal expenses, including real estate taxes to the borough of Franklin Lakes for $6,562 in August 2011, the U.S. attorney said.
Hartounian also admitted during his previous plea that he received $1.29 million in income in 2012 but reported only $133,290.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan sentenced Hartounian to three years of supervised release. Hartounian must also pay restitution of $4,117,463, which includes $3.5 million to the victim company and $617,463 to the IRS.
Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, and IRS-Criminal Investigation, for making the case, handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana W. Chen of his Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.