Former CFO, Christopher Firle Pleads Guilty to Embezzling over $1.6 Million
According to court documents, Firle was the Chief Financial Officer of a holding company that managed several vehicle dealerships. From January 2016 through September 2019, Firle misappropriated over $1.6 million from the company. He carried out his embezzlement scheme in multiple ways, including by using company credit cards to pay for over $750,000 in personal expenses. The unauthorized charges included tickets to sporting events and purchases at several retail stores, including Bergdorf Goodman, Chanel, Hermès, Nordstrom, and Tiffany & Co. Firle also initiated over 30 unauthorized wire transfers from the company to a family member. Those transfers totaled over $500,000. Additionally, Firle issued over 30 unauthorized company checks to himself that totaled over $165,000, and he withdrew over $50,000 from a company account without authorization. Finally, Firle issued himself excess bonus payments totaling almost $160,000.
As part of his guilty plea, Firle agreed to pay restitution of $1,937,706 to his former employer. He also agreed to forfeit $1,652,269.44 to the United States.
U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez is scheduled to sentence Firle on October 19, 2021. Firle faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the court’s discretion after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.