Thursday, January 08, 2009

Fired Fry's Executive Charged With Fraud, Money-Laundering

Lisa Fernandez writes on

A now-fired executive at Fry's Electronics was charged Thursday with nine counts of wire fraud and money laundering for allegedly squeezing millions of dollars in kickbacks from suppliers to pay off massive gambling debts, according to documents filed in San Jose federal court.

Ausaf Umar Siddiqui, who goes by "Omar," now faces formal arraignment on those charges Jan. 15 before U.S. Northern District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia V. Trumbull.

The nine felonies carry a maximum penalty of a 30-year prison sentence. But federal sentencing guidelines also treat first-time offenders much more leniently.

The indictment is similar — but smaller in scope — to the arrest complaint filed Dec. 18, which alleged Siddiqui cheated Fry's out of $65 million over three years. The indictment charges only nine transactions totaling less than $6 million from June 2005 to November 2008. And instead of naming five vendors by name, as was listed in the arrest complaint, the indictment limits the illegal transactions to only two unnamed vendors.

"How does it go from $65 million when he was arrested to less than $6 million now?'' asked Eric Sidebotham, Siddiqui's civil attorney helping him fend off casinos across the country who are suing him for millions they say he owes them. "I find that number really interesting. It's not nearly as bad as they originally charged.''

More here.


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