Former Executive of New York Hotel Sentenced to Jail for Stealing $13M from Employer

NEWARK, N.J. – A Passaic County, New Jersey, man was sentenced to 46 months in prison for embezzling millions of dollars from a New York-based hospitality company where he was the chief operating officer, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

George Dfouni, 47, of Wayne, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion. Judge Hayden imposed the sentence Oct. 11, 2018, in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

From 1996 through 2015, Dfouni worked as the chief operating officer for a company identified in the information as “Company A,” which owns and operates hotels in New York and New Jersey.

From 2007 through September 2015, Dfouni negotiated multiple contracts on behalf of Company A, whereby two other companies – identified as “Company B” and “Company C” in court documents – leased New York hotel properties from Company A. As consideration for the leases, Company B and Company C agreed to pay millions of dollars to Company A. Each contract included a signing bonus for Dfouni, who arranged for Company B and Company C to transmit their payments directly to him in New Jersey.

Dfouni was expected to keep his signing bonus and pay the remaining balances to Company A. Instead, Dfouni skimmed a portion of the payments due to Company A to support his lavish lifestyle and gambling expenses. In total, Dfouni embezzled $13.8 million from Company A.

Dfouni willfully failed to report $27,739,114 in income to the IRS between 2007 and 2014, including the funds that he embezzled from Company A.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Hayden sentenced Dfouni to two years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation leading to the sentencing.