The former chief financial officer of an Orange County technology company was sentenced to more than four years in federal prison for stealing about $15 million from the company.
Jean Joseph Ibrahim pleaded guilty in 2012 to a charge related to the embezzlement from his employer, Trustin Technology, which worked with companies such as Apple Inc. and IBM. He was sentenced Wednesday to 50 months in prison and ordered to repay the company.
With complete access to the Irvine company's finances, Ibrahim wired money from Trustin accounts to his personal investment accounts and manipulated the company's books in an attempt to conceal the theft, the U.S. attorney's office in Santa Ana said.
He spent the stolen money on expensive suits, shoes, vacations and gambling in Las Vegas and California, prosecutors said. He also bought more than $3 million in gold bars, an $85,000 Mercedes and an $82,000 Land Rover.
When the company started having financial trouble in early 2012, Ibrahim claimed it was because some vendors were behind in their payments to the company.
"Defendant never told anyone at the time that the problem was he stole $15 million from Trustin," prosecutors said in a sentencing motion.
When the company became suspicious, Ibrahim fled to Lebanon with millions of dollars worth of gold bars and the two luxury cars. He later returned to the United States and was arrested by Homeland Security agents, who became suspicious because he was traveling with two bags that contained more than $400,000 in cash.
In a sentencing motion, Ibrahim's attorneys asked for leniency in part because he voluntarily returned to the U.S. from Lebanon and had taken steps to turn his life around. They said he was driven to commit the crimes by gambling and alcohol addictions.
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