investment fraud

Former Grant Thornton Partner Sentenced to 54 Months’ Prison for Stealing Nearly $4 Million

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, was sentenced
today in Manhattan federal court to 54 months in prison for stealing nearly $4 million in client
payments intended for the accounting firm. HABER pled guilty in August 2013 to one count of
mail fraud before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel, who also imposed today’s sentence.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Craig Haber abused his position as partner
of an accounting firm, stealing millions of dollars in client payments to fund his own personal
expenses, including the mortgage on his Manhattan apartment. Haber’s efforts to conceal his
fraud failed and, with today’s sentence, he will pay for his fraud with time in a federal prison and
the forfeiture of his ill-gotten gains, including his apartment.”
According to the documents filed in Manhattan federal court and statements made in
related court proceedings:
From 1993 through July 2012, HABER was a partner at a global accounting firm
headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, (the “Accounting Firm”) that provided a variety of auditing,
accounting, and tax preparation services to businesses and individuals in the U.S. and abroad.
HABER worked at the Accounting Firm’s office in New York, New York, and provided tax
preparation and advisory services to clients of the Accounting Firm.
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 sent bills to clients
containing payment instructions directing them to send checks to him at the Accounting Firm’s
New York, New York, office instead of the Chicago headquarters.
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 that was very similar to the name of the
Accounting Firm. HABER opened the bank account specifically to receive checks from clients
that were intended for 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. In total, HABER stole nearly $4 million in client payments.
* * *
In addition to his prison term, HABER, 60, of New York, New York, was sentenced to
two years of supervised release, and ordered to forfeit $3,970,000 in cash, his Manhattan
apartment, and his brokerage account.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the United States 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.
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