Risk Management

Remorseful CFO Gets Jail for Embezzlement

At small N.J. photonics company, he charged more than $800,000 on the firm's debit card, and claims he doesn't know why.
Stephen TaubApril 1, 2008

The former CFO of a small provider of products for the photonics industry was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for embezzling more than $800,000.

William Miraglia was ordered to pay $796,621 in restitution to his former employer, Northvale, N.J.-based Photonic Products Group Inc. and an insurance firm that covered $300,000 of the loss, according to a report in the northjersey.com website.

“What I did was wrong. All I can say is I am deeply sorry,” Miraglia reportedly told U.S. District Judge Joseph Greenaway Jr. “I have no good reason. I don’t even know myself why I did what I did. I just want to get on with my life and find some way to pay these people back.”

According to the website, Miraglia spent some of the money on nursing care for his mother. According to a regulatory filing several years ago, he also sent $94,500 to the Internal Revenue Service to settle tax obligations.

Other items he spent the money on included thousands of dollars for restaurant meals, boating and golfing equipment, clothing, furs, jewelry, hotels and airline tickets, according to northjersey.com.

“PPGI was a small, publicly traded company with less than 100 employees and the effect this crime had on the company was profound,” assistant U.S. attorney Adam Lurie said in court, adding that Miraglia began his scheme as soon as he joined the company. “They trusted him … and from Day One he betrayed that trust.”

Miraglia pleaded guilty in September to charges of mail fraud and filing a false tax return. He admitted stealing the money from 2000 to 2006. He had resigned from the company in May 2006.

The company said in a regulatory filing a month later that the audit committee had discovered in an internal investigation that Miraglia had widely used a company debit card for unauthorized and personal charges. It said that over a period of six years, Miraglia had incurred unauthorized and personal charges totaling about $723,000, including $150,000 in 2005 and $33,000 in the first half of 2006.

In addition, the investigation revealed inadequate internal controls for corporate handling of disbursements by check, the company said.