A Rockville Centre man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to stealing more than $429,000 from his employer, which operated more than 50 Dunkin Donuts franchises, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced.
Christopher Cortese, 57, used the money to finance trips, car payments, thousands of dollars in gift cards, and payments to two girlfriends, Ric said. He pleaded guilty as charged to second-degree grand larceny. The district attorney’s office said it will recommend two to six years in prison and $429,555.84 in restitution at his Dec. 6 sentencing.
“Mr. Cortese stole almost half a million dollars in order to enrich his lifestyle and give away what didn’t belong to him,” Rice said. “White-collar crimes like these hurt our economy and victimize the innocent employees of companies that are defrauded. My office will continue to aggressively pursue those who abuse the trust of their employers and colleagues to fatten their own wallets.”
Cortese was employed by Kainos Partners Holding Company, LLC, a corporation that has owned and operated more than 50 Dunkin Donuts franchises, as its chief financial officer since May 2005. Kainos began investigating Cortese in January 2009 after discovering a number of financial irregularities, including $53,500 for a home office, $60,000 in gift cards, and more than $100,000 in trips, meals, and other expenses.
The Rockville Centre resident also hired two girlfriends as consultants, funneling $110,000 to one woman for information technology services that were never performed. He also used company funds to pay for the first car lease payment for a Mercedes-Benz vehicle for the woman and secured company health and dental benefits for her, despite her not being a company employee. Another girlfriend received $20,000 for services never performed. Cortese was terminated by Kainos on Feb. 4, 2009.