HR Strange But True!
August 09, 2007

Jeffrey Grous knew what time it was--time to plead guilty to stealing $5.3 million from his former employer and using a big chunk of it to buy watches.

At HR Strange but True! headquarters, we are a bit fascinated with the loot employees buy using the money they steal from their employers. In the past, we've covered the story of the bookkeeper who stole $6.9 million from her employer and the office manager whom prosecutors said paid her daughter's wedding with her employer's money.

This is the first time we have run across an employee who spent so much on watches.

In pleading guilty, Jeffrey F. Grous of Tolland, Connecticut, admitted that he devised a scheme to defraud the investment firm for which he worked of approximately $5.3 million and spent the money for his own personal use and enjoyment over a period of 10 years. Prosecutors said Grous spent the money on:

  • The purchase of watches totaling approximately $449,219.02
  • The construction of a luxury home, and
  • The purchase of expensive cars, clothing, and vacations.

Prosecutors said Grous formed two sham companies and then submitted false invoices for consulting services by these companies and approved the fraudulent requests, or forged the signature of an officer at the investment firm with the authority to approve the payment requests.

In addition, Grous submitted to the investment firm AMEX charges and fraudulent payment forms, including a false description that the expenses were for business purposes of officers of the investment firm. GROUS approved, or forged the signature of others for approval, AMEX charges, which resulted in the investment firm making payments of approximately $2.24 million to AMEX for Grous's personal expenses, prosecutors alleged.

Grous pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, one count of tax evasion, and one count of filing a false tax return.

United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton has scheduled sentencing for September 27, 2007. Grous faces:

  • A maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on each wire fraud and mail fraud charge
  • A maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000 on the tax evasion charge, and
  • A maximum term of imprisonment of three years and a fine of up to $100,000 on the charge of filing a false tax return.

Source: Department of Justice

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