Fry's exec accused of stealing $65 million
12-23) 12:43 PST San Jose - --
A Palo Alto man who rose through the ranks of Fry's Electronics Inc. - from selling computers to overseeing the purchasing of all merchandise sold through the chain's 34 stores - appeared in federal court in San Jose on Monday facing charges he used his position to embezzle more than $65 million to help pay off huge debts at Las Vegas casinos.
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In a federal complaint filed Friday and unsealed Monday, IRS Special Agent Andres Gonzalez outlined how Ausaf Umar Siddiqui, 42, allegedly used his powerful position in Fry's to set up exclusive deals with several electronics vendors.
The scheme led Fry's to overpay for routers, flash drives and other products by 30 percent or more, according to the complaint. The vendors, in turn, would then kick that overcharge back to Siddiqui through a shell company, according to the complaint.
That cash wound up in an account that Siddiqui used to pay off several Las Vegas casinos, according to the federal complaint, which alleges that Siddiqui - whose salary at Fry's was about $225,000 - has paid more than $120 million to three Las Vegas casino companies since the beginning of 2005.
Bail for Siddiqui was set at $300,000 and he was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet if released, said Arlette Lee, spokeswoman for the IRS' Criminal Investigation