A Passaic County man today admitted embezzling millions of dollars from a New York-based hospitality company where he was the chief operating officer, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
According to authorities, George Dfouni, 47, of Wayne pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion. He was released on $150,000 unsecured bond.
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 the information – 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.
Authorities said 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 approximately $13,807,034 from Company A.
In addition, 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.
The wire fraud charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The tax evasion charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for April 30, 2018.