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Feds accuse fruitcake executive of $16.6 million embezzlement

Fruitcakes are apparently pretty big business in Texas. The former corporate controller of a fruitcake bakery in Corsicana, Texas, which is about 50 miles south of Dallas, is accused of diverting $16,649,786.91 from the business during his 15-year career. Because of the methods he used, federal prosecutors have indicted him not for embezzlement, however, but for 10 counts of mail fraud.

While the Courthouse News Service didn't report exactly when the alleged fraud or embezzlement scheme began, the indictment claims the man created as many as 888 fraudulent checks on the bakery's account and mailed them to his own creditors. It does not appear he was in more than $16 million in debt, however, as prosecutors say he used the money to fund his own lavish lifestyle.

While it may be amazing that he could divert so much money from a fruitcake bakery, the company reportedly ships fruitcakes and pecan cakes to 196 countries worldwide.

To disguise the fraud or embezzlement, prosecutors say, the now-64-year-old man allegedly set up a fake vendor in the system and credited that vendor with checks in the same amounts as those sent to the creditors.

Federal prosecutors say he then used the money to buy 43 luxury cars, private air travel, houses in Corsicana and Santa Fe, a Steinway grand piano, furs and designer handbags, paintings, wine, collectible coins, a $3-million jewelry and watch collection, and even guns. The prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of the full $16,649,786.91 in the form of that property or in cash.

The bakery didn’t respond immediately to request for comments, but it apparently fired the man in June.

While this is a compelling story by prosecutors, doesn’t it strike you as odd that the grand jury indicted him for only 10 counts of mail fraud after he allegedly sent 888 fraudulent checks?

If he is convicted of all 10, he could face up to 20 years in federal prison, along with $250,000 in fines for each count, or a total of $2,500,000.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Fruitcake Exec Ran Wild, Uncle Sam Says,” David Lee, Sept. 13, 2013

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