U.S. says ex-Needham CFO spent firm's funds on dog fence

Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:13pm EST

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(Reuters) - A former chief financial officer of Needham & Co was charged on Thursday with stealing $1 million from the investment banking and brokerage firm and using some of the money to pay for vacations, wine and a dog fence.

Glen Albanese, 41, was accused by federal prosecutors in New Jersey with running a decade-long scheme from 2000 to 2010 in which he induced vendors to submit fraudulently inflated bills or fake invoices for services that were not provided.

The office of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in New Jersey said Albanese received illicit proceeds by accepting envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash or by asking vendors to pay his personal expenses.

According to prosecutors, the expenses included landscaping and interior decorating at Albanese's home, thousands of dollars of wine, equestrian equipment, tickets to Walt Disney World and Six Flags theme parks, flights and hotels and "a designer-breed dog and canine fence."

Albanese resigned from New York-based Needham in February 2011 after the firm began to question his dealings with vendors, according to records of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, an independent brokerage regulator.

The defendant was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and if convicted faces a maximum 20 years in prison plus a $250,000 fine.

An FBI spokeswoman said Albanese, of Manalapan, New Jersey, was arrested without incident at his home at about 6 a.m.

He was released on $200,000 bond after an afternoon hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy Waldor in Newark, New Jersey, a spokesman for Fishman said. Albanese did not enter a plea.

Joseph Benfante, a lawyer for Albanese, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In September, FINRA brought a civil enforcement case accusing Albanese of improper invoicing.

It said he once caused Needham to pay $2,600 as a business expense for four tickets to the 2009 baseball World Series.

The case is U.S. v. Albanese, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 12-mag-07289.

(Reporting By Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler and Kenneth Barry)

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