Federal and local authorities arrested four Southern California men on Tuesday for allegedly embezzling more than $8 million from a laundry owned by luxury denim brand Citizens of Humanity.
The men are accused of getting CM Laundry in Gardena to pay fraudulent invoices with fake or inflated charges. Citizens of Humanity, which is based in Huntington Park, has owned CM Laundry since 2007.
One of the men, Luis Mariano Rodriquez, was once the president of CM Laundry. The other three owned companies that allegedly submitted fake invoices to the laundry.
U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said Rodriguez was behind "a long-running scheme" to bilk his employer.
"The scheme involved other defendants who also allegedly stole proceeds generated through fraudulently issued bills," she said in a statement.
One of these defendants, Antonio Anguiano, owned protection equipment company FI Products, which billed the laundry for more than $3.6 million from 2007 to 2013, the criminal complaint said. During this period, FI Products transferred about $2.3 million to Rodriguez and his company, Genesis Electronics.
Terry Mink billed CM Laundry for about $5.5 million through his hardware firm, H&T Industrial Products. He then transferred about $3.6 million to Rodriguez.
The fourth man, Rene Bautista, is accused of setting up a company called K&R Industrial Supplies at the behest of Rodriguez, the complaint said. Bautista's company billed CM Laundry for about $640,000 and transferred about $490,000 to Rodriguez and his company.
The parent company of Citizens of Humanity has sued Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Co., accusing the company of failing to pay up after the thefts.
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