The former chief financial officer of a Bergen County business today admitted to embezzling millions of dollars from the company and to evading taxes, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Gomidas Garabed Hartounian, 52, of Franklin Lakes, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton federal court to a superseding information charging him with one count of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From April 2007 through April 2014, Hartounian was the CFO for “Company A,” a for-profit company with its principal place of business in Englewood.
Hartounian is also the sole owner of MGB LLC, a company registered to his residence. Hartounian fraudulently designated MGB as a vendor in Company A’s accounting system without disclosing that he controlled MGB. He directed Company A employees to issue checks to MGB for freight services that MGB supposedly provided Company A. When asked for the MGB invoices, he claimed that he was maintaining them in his office.
Because Hartounian didn’t have sole signatory power, he forged the signatures of the chief executive officer or the chief operating officer before depositing the checks into bank accounts that he controlled. Hartounian also had checks issued directly from Company A bank accounts to pay for his personal expenses, including real estate taxes to the Borough of Franklin Lakes for $6,562 in August 2011.
Hartounian also admitted that he filed a false federal tax return, Form 1040, for the calendar year 2012 in which he knowingly did not report $1.29 million in income that he received as the sole owner of MGB. Instead, Hartounian falsely understated his income for 2012 as $133,290.
The wire fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss resulting from the crime. The tax evasion count carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss resulting from the crime.
Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 16, 2016.