YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: FBI agents this morning arrested the former chief financial officer of an Englewood electronics and household goods wholesaler at his Franklin Lakes home on charges of embezzling $6.3 million from the company, authorities said.
A federal court appearance was scheduled in Newark this afternoon for Gomidas Garabed Hartounian, 50, the CFO of Harco Industries on Van Brunt Street.
Federal authorities charged Hartounian with a signal count of wire fraud.
Hartounian created his own company, MGB LLC, registered to his home, then steered contracts to it without disclosing the connection, a complaint on file in U.S. District Court in Newark alleges.
Hartounian directed employees at Harco — identified in court papers as “Company A” — to issue checks to MGB for freight services that were never provided, the complaint says.
When asked for the MGB invoices, “he claimed that he was maintaining them in his office,” it says.
“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,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said this morning.
“Hartounian also had checks issued directly from [Harco] bank accounts to pay for his personal expenses, including real estate taxes, motor vehicle expenses and credit card payments,” he said.
Fishman credited the FBI with making the case, presented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana W. Chen of his Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
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