A tax accountant for Eastman Kodak Co. faces charges of money laundering and mail fraud stemming from a kickback scheme that allegedly cost the company more than $4 million.
Director of state and local taxes Mark S. Camarata was accused in U.S. District Court in Rochester, New York, of authorizing inflated payments to Kodak vendors in exchange for payments to his own shell company, according to the Rochester Business Journal.
The complaint, signed by Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Albert Zenner, stated that the investigation began with a tip on Kodak’s confidential ethics hotline, noted the Journal.
As part of his duties, Camarata employed outside businesses to help Kodak lower its property-tax assessments, according to a statement by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick reported by the Associated Press.
In 1999, after a company named American Valuation Services Inc. was paid by Kodak for services rendered, the owner of AVS gave Camarata $5,000 in cash, Resnick reportedly elaborated. Because he was “leery of directly receiving cash payments,” Camarata allegedly started a business named Strategic Asset Management to submit false invoices to AVS and two other companies and receive payouts from them.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Camarata estimated that he received between $1.5 million and $2 million going back to 1999; Kodak’s records indicate that the three companies were paid about $9.3 million. Strategic Asset Management received more than $4 million, added Resnick’s office.
Kodak stated that Camarata’s activities had no impact on the company’s financials, according to the AP, adding that the allegations are “in no way related” to tax-accounting errors that led to Kodak’s restatement last month.
Kodak is in the process of firing Camarata, according to news reports.
If he is found guilty, he could face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.