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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Crime: Embezzling Fry's VP Once Gambled Away $8 Million In ONE DAY

The LA Times is reporting that former Fry's executive and accused embezzler, Omar Siddiqui, once gambled away $8 million in a single day. According to the IRS, Mr. Siddiqui financed his gambling by taking at least $65.6 million in kickbacks from Fry's suppliers. He's been charged with money laundering and fraud, and if convicted, he faces 140 years in prison.

The LA Times says that the high stakes gambler was extended millions of dollars in credit from the various Las Vegas casinos that flew him in on private jets, and put him up in opulent suites. Court records show that Siddiqui, who earns a salary of $225,000 a year, lost as much as $167 million at casinos over the last decade.

Here's how the scam allegedly worked: Siddiqui convinced Fry's to eliminate the independent broker who was supplying their products — and instead demanded that vendors pay him through a fraudulent company.

According to the criminal complaint filed by U.S. Atty. Joseph P. Russoniello, Siddiqui deposited at least $167.8 million in PC International's bank account between 2005 and 2008. The IRS alleges that $65.6 million came from just five vendors. It is still investigating where he got the rest.

Some in the electronics industry say Siddiqui dictated what would — and would not — be sold at the giant electronics chain.

One company, Phoebe Micro Inc., sold Fry's $80 million worth of goods between 2003 and 2008. The firm gave Fry's a $4 million discount, the IRS said, but paid Siddiqui's company $24 million.

The IRS also documented six cases in which Siddiqui received $1 million to $5 million from vendors, then paid identical, or nearly identical, amounts to casinos within one to three days.

Crime: Embezzling Fry's VP Once Gambled Away $8 Million In ONE DAY

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