Risk Management

From 30 Rock to Breaking Rocks

After pleading guilty in an embezzlement scheme, former NBC Universal treasury manager James Walsh is sentenced to 21 months in prison.
Stephen TaubDecember 3, 2008

Editor’s Update: On December 11, Victor Jung was sentenced to one year and one day for his role in the embezzlement.

The former treasury manager of General Electric’s NBC Universal unit was sentenced to 21 months in prison for his role in a scheme to steal over $800,000 from the entertainment company and use the money for his own personal benefit.

James Walsh earlier this year pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud. He also was sentenced to two years of supervised release.

According to the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Walsh conducted the scheme with his boss, Victor Jung, then the company treasurer at NBC Universal’s offices at 30 Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. Jung pleaded guilty in May to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud in the scheme, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 11.

Walsh and Jung used the money they embezzled, among other ways, to pay off large balances on their credit cards and to pay about $40,000 for the rental of a summer home in Southampton, N.Y., according to prosecutors. The money also was used to pay for a birthday party that Jung threw for Walsh in April 2005.

According to the government, Walsh’s responsibilities included reconciling NBC Universal’s bank accounts and performing accounting for NBC Universal’s cash balances. He also had access to a safe located in NBC Universal’s headquarters where petty cash was kept for use in NBC Universal’s and its subsidiary companies’ business.

Walsh reported to Jung, who was responsible for collection efforts related to NBC Universal’s business and for oversight of the company’s bank accounts. The U.S. attorney said that he also was responsible for financial analyses and reporting to NBC Universal’s parent company, General Electric Capital Corp.

According to the government, initially the pair embezzled money by removing cash from the Safe and using that cash for unauthorized purposes. In November 2005, without the authorization of either NBC Universal or GE, Jung set up a company called NBC Universal Media Productions LLC. However, at no time was this company a part of NBC Universal or GE’s portfolio of companies and subsidiary companies.

Jung opened bank accounts for the LLC at a branch of Commerce Bank in Manhattan, and caused two wire transfers to be sent — one for about $575,000 in January 2006 and another for $238,450 in April 2006 — from an account held by GE in Connecticut to two different accounts of the LLC at Commerce Bank.

Walsh allegedly assisted in the transfer of approximately $238,450 in April 2006 by providing the required approval for the wire, according to the government.