• Latest in White Collar Crime

    Author : May 2, 2018

    White collar crimes often include companies stealing from its shareholders, or accountants stealing from investors. In many cases, the employee is caught stealing from their employer. One case out of Manhattan involves a high-powered executive who could not resist abusing his position to personally profit.

    Lawrence White, age 36, pled guilty to two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, and two counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree. According to court documents and testimony, White worked at Peloton from February 2015 to July 2016. The company was a high-tech stationary bike company, and he served as the Vice President of Finance. His duties included supervising accountants and finance professionals, as well as managing the accounts receivable and payable for the company.

    He used two of the company’s corporate credit cards, which he could legitimately use. But, he began making unauthorized purchases to cover his own personal expenses. On top of these two cards, Mr. White then opened up an American Express card in the company’s name without its knowledge or permission. He also used this card to pay for personal expenses, including alcohol, restaurants, and personal travel.

    On top of this card, he also opened up a fake vendor account and sent payments from the company to them. He then transferred funds from that account into his own personal bank. In total, the evidence showed that the defendant stole over $400,000.00 in just over 12 months. He then went to work for Rocketrip, a startup company where again he was the Vice President of Finance. His duties for Rocketrip were similar, and he engaged in the same conduct as before – sending payments to the fake vendor account he had set up earlier, and transferring them to his own account. In total, he stole over $110,000.00 from Rocketrip. Mr. White was indicted after Peloton conducted an internal review of its own accounts, at which point, reported the matter to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Mr. White subsequently pled guilty.

    Over in Queens, another white-collar defendant was sentenced after his conviction. The executive director of the Island Child Development Center, Ira Kurmen, age 55, pleaded guilty to third-degree larceny. The Center was one of the largest providers of educational services to special needs preschoolers in the city. The non-profit received funds to help with the children; however, Mr. Kurmen was accused of moving the funds into his own personal accounts to pay for his own living expenses. He and three others were accused of moving millions of dollars from the Center into relatives’ accounts, personal business accounts, and even spending money on jewelry, home renovations, and a family wedding.

    The scheme was discovered when the New York State Comptroller informed the Center's employees that they would be conducting an audit. The State Department of Education helps Special Education Itinerant Teachers (SEIT) provide services in the homes of children or other locations. It sent funds to the Center, which simultaneously has to meet certain standards when teaching children with disabilities. When the auditors showed up, they were informed that Mr. Kurmen had resigned, taking his books and records with him. After a full investigation and indictment, Mr. Kurmen pled guilty to the charges. He was ordered to repay $650,000.00 in restitution and was sentenced to six months in prison.

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