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Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CRAIG B. HABER, a former partner of a global accounting firm, pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court to stealing nearly $4 million in client payments intended for the firm. HABER pled guilty before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel.
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Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Craig Haber committed a flagrant fraud against his accounting firm and its clients by directing millions of dollars in payments intended for the firm to his personal bank accounts. With his plea today, he joins the ranks of disgraced financial professionals who put their own interests before the organizations and clients they were supposed to serve.”
According to the Complaint, the Information, and statements made in court:
From 1993 through July 2012, HABER was a partner at a global accounting firm headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, that provided a variety of auditing, accounting, and tax preparation services to businesses and individuals in the United States and abroad (the “Accounting Firm”). HABER worked at the Accounting Firm’s office in New York, New York, and provided tax preparation and advisory services.
The Accounting Firm’s bills to clients ordinarily included payment instructions directing clients to pay the firm by wire transfer or by sending checks to its headquarters in Chicago. However, on multiple occasions from 2004 through July 2012, HABER instead provided instructions to his clients directing them to send checks to him at the Accounting Firm’s New York, New York office.
Upon receiving those checks, HABER deposited a number of them into a bank account that he had opened in the name of a sham business whose name was very similar to the name of the Accounting Firm. After depositing the clients’ checks into that account, HABER then transferred the money from that account to two personal bank accounts which he used to pay various personal expenses, including mortgage payments for his residence in New York, New York.
HABER stole a total of nearly $4 million in client payments.
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HABER, 59, of New York, New York, pled guilty to one count of mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Castel on December 13, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Facciponti is in charge of the prosecution.