The previous CFO of Price Simms Holdings, which manages many California dealerships, will be sentenced March 29 after pleading guilty final 12 months to embezzling more than $1.6 million from the business — dollars in part spent on luxurious goods from Chanel and Hermes.
Christopher Firle was at first scheduled to be sentenced this past Tuesday in federal courtroom in California on a single count of wire fraud in advance of the date was moved back again. He faces a highest sentence of 20 years in jail.
Firle was billed in February 2021, and he pleaded guilty in July. As aspect of his plea, he agreed to pay out a lot more than $1.9 million in restitution to his former employer and to forfeit almost $1.7 million to the U.S. government, according to a launch from the Section of Justice.
The release refers to the company wherever Firle worked only as “a holding corporation that managed numerous car dealerships.” A submitting in a different civil suit associated to the embezzlement recognized Cost Simms as the dealership holding corporation that Firle stole from. Price tag Simms CEO Adam Simms declined to remark to Automotive News.
Firle worked for the company from September 2015 to Oct 2019, and the to start with incident of embezzlement transpired in January 2016, according to court docket paperwork. He started out as the vice president of finance but was quickly promoted to CFO.
Over the program of just about 4 decades, Firle initiated much more than 30 unauthorized wire transfers, issued 30 unauthorized checks to himself and his relatives and produced many unauthorized withdrawals, in accordance to federal prosecutors. The wire transfers had been made to accounts held by both equally Firle and his wife, and some checks ended up created out to his father, mother and daughter.
He also issued himself reward payments of just about $160,000, mentioned the press launch from the U.S. Attorney’s Business office for the Japanese District of California.
Firle’s most egregious theft took place via enterprise credit score playing cards, which he employed for far more than $750,000 in particular expenditures, in accordance to prosecutors. Buys provided tickets to sporting occasions and luxury products from outlets such as Bergdorf Goodman, Chanel, Hermes, Nordstrom and Tiffany & Co., the push release mentioned.
Court documents also clearly show that he utilised organization credit history playing cards to pay for stays at accommodations in Las Vegas, Honolulu, the Bahamas, Orlando and other preferred trip places.
Firle was caught as portion of an FBI investigation, the push launch explained.
Cost Simms Family members Dealerships rated No. 89 on Automotive News’ most latest record of the best 150 dealership teams based in the U.S., with retail profits of 10,305 new automobiles in 2020. The team experienced 16 areas as of early 2021, according to the list.