Three former executives at California car dealerships were detained on Jan. 12 on federal charges related to what prosecutors say was an embezzlement scheme. According to prosecutors, the activity took place from 2010 to 2016.
The indictment alleges that one of the men initiated the scheme. Shell companies were created that appeared to be advertising agencies. They were run by the man's associates. Then, invoices were created and sent to the company the men worked for. He and one of the other men, the company's controller, approved and paid the invoices according to the indictment. This allegedly amounted to around $6.3 million in fraudulent wire transfers. Once the money was deposited, checks were then written to the man for most of the amount. According to the indictment, two of the men also gave themselves fraudulent bonuses and other payments that they said were funded by the corporate offices of car manufacturers.
The men are facing charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In addition, two of them were also charged with engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity and conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.
People who are being investigated on federal charges for embezzlement might want to talk to an attorney. In some cases, people might not realize they are under investigation or that they are connected with illegal activity. However, people may want to consider contacting an attorney even if investigators simply want to question them. The penalties for embezzlement and similar offenses can be serious, but there may be several ways to defend against the allegations. A plea agreement could also be a possibility.
Source: CBS SF Bay Area, "Feds Arrest 3 In Alleged Marin Car Dealership Advertising Scam", Jan. 12, 2018