U.S. businessman accused of fraud in job search

NEW YORK, May 30 (Reuters) - A U.S. businessman was charged with fraud on Friday for allegedly trying get a $300,000-a-year finance job by forging documents about a regulatory probe into his conduct at a prior employer.

Jorge Enrique Yepes, 41, of Miramar, Florida, was charged with three counts of wire fraud in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, according to federal prosecutors and the FBI.

Yepes, who was seeking a job as chief financial officer at an unidentified “packaging solutions” company, sent phony documents to an executive search firm conducting due diligence on his background, the complaint said. The documents included fictitious correspondence from a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission attorney related to Yepes’ conduct while employed at another entity, authorities said.

“What a silly case,” his lawyer, David Oscar Markus said when contacted by Reuters.

“Apparently, even though there are terrorists, rapists and murderers out there, the FBI and the federal government is now interested in going after people who may have lied on their resumes,” he said. “I’m sure we have better ways to use our very scarce resources.”

Yepes surrendered to federal authorities on Thursday evening, authorities said. If convicted, he could face as much as 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The complaint said Yepes informed the search firm that his assistance with the SEC investigation was no longer needed and that the commission did not foresee any future actions against him. In fact, the SEC was still interested in interviewing Yepes, the complaint said.

Yepes sent a fictitious email from the SEC attorney saying Yepes had provided valuable information and that the SEC wished him “best of luck” in his future endeavors, the complaint said.

Yepes currently purports to be the vice president of finance for the Americas for a Fortune 500 company, but he was fired from that employer in June 2006, the complaint said.

Authorities did not disclose Yepes' prior employers. However, chemical supplier Industrial Enterprise of America Inc IEAM.PK said in February that it had dismissed its CFO, an executive whose name is Jorge Yepes, after a review of his conduct by an independent outside counsel.

A prior news release from the company, announcing the hiring of Jorge Yepes in September 2007, said the executive had previously served as a vice president of finance, Americas, at Avery Dennison Corp AVY.N, a Fortune 500 company, and from 2002 to 2005 worked at Clorox Co CLX.N as a finance director.

An Avery Dennison spokesman told Reuters that Yepes worked for the company from September 2005 to June 2006 as a director of finance for the Latin American operations of one of its units, but declined further comment.

Representatives of Clorox and Industrial Enterprise were not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Martha Graybow; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)