A Beverly Hills man will spend 12 years in prison for a $2.4 millionembezzlement scheme. According to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, the man worked as an executive at the company, which mass produces wall art. He negotiated licensing agreements with professional and collegiate sports teams for the company’s products.
The man misappropriated the funds while working as the company’s Vice President for sports licensing. He worked there between 2010 and 2015. According to prosecutors, he authorized payments from his employer to seven shell companies for hundreds of phony licensing agreements. In many cases, the “licensed” art was already in the public domain. New owners purchased the company in 2015 and conducted an audit, which revealed the licensing scam. He pleaded guilty to 35 felony charges, including grand theft and money laundering.
Separately, the defendant also operated a network of vegan culinary schools, which abruptly closed and cancelled all classes last August. The closures of PlantLab, formerly owned by celebrity chef Matthew Kenney, left students who had already paid for classes empty-handed. Although students and employees claimed that the man had simply “disappeared” with their money, in fact, authorities arrested him. To date, the culinary school students have not received reimbursement for the cancelled classes. Last month, the California Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau for Private Post-Secondary Education (BPPE) fined PlantLab $100,000. The BPPE found that PlantLab operated as an unapproved private post-secondary institution in violation of the California Education Code. The order requires PlantLab to cease operations; it does not require the business to refund students’ money.
El Segundo Embezzlement Attorney
When you face charges of theft from an employer or workplace, hire an experienced criminal defense attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.
Embezzlement is a financial crime of opportunity, and most victims want their money returned. As your defense attorney, Mr. Helfend will first try to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. When that’s not possible, he will work toward the best possible outcome for your case. An experienced criminal defense attorney can use the victim’s desire for restitution to help reduce the length of incarceration. In addition, he can work to liquidate assets on hand to reduce or satisfy restitution requirements.
Don’t attempt to represent yourself in court, and don’t assume that a guilty plea is in your best interest. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County embezzlement case.
Photo Credit: Mike Boening Photography, via Flickr.com