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December 27, 2011

TRAVEL MANAGER SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS IN STATE PRISON FOR EMBEZZLING OVER $825,000 FROM EMPLOYERS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 4:36 am

TRAVEL MANAGER SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS IN STATE PRISON FOR EMBEZZLING OVER $825,000 FROM EMPLOYERS TO FINANCE EXTRAVAGANT TRIPS AND SHOPPING AT HIGH-END RETAILERS

SANTA ANA - A travel manager was sentenced Friday to 12 years in state prison for embezzling $825,000 to fraudulently book trips and purchase personal luxury items. Jeremy Kealoha Belisario, 38, formerly of Irvine, pleaded guilty Dec. 16, 2011, to one felony count each of grand theft by an employee and fraudulently using an access card for Case # 08NF0476. He pleaded guilty to felonies in Case # 08HF1938 including  two counts of grand theft,  two counts of identity theft, two counts of acquiring access card information without permission, one count of embezzlement by an employee, and admitted to sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $500,000 and property damage over $150,000. He was sentenced to 12 years in state prison, was ordered to pay over $1million in restitution, and was fined an additional $1.6 million payable to the County of Orange.

Case # 08NF0476
Between June 2006 and July 2007, Belisario was employed as a manager at TravelCorp USA Inc. in Anaheim. During his employment, the defendant fraudulently purchased 13 separate airline reservations for himself and his boyfriend using a debit card from the defendant’s closed personal bank account. The defendant was able to force the transactions through by entering a fake authorization code after the bank had initially declined the purchases. The bank had closed the account due to numerous bad checks being written by the defendant.

He was sentenced to two years in state prison concurrent to Case # 08HF1938 and ordered to pay over $24,800 in restitution.

Case # 08HF1938
Between July 2007 and March 2008, Belisario was employed as the Air Manager for a 30-year-old family owned business, which specialized in corporate incentive travel and planning large corporate travel events such as conferences and retreats. During the course of his employment, Belisario embezzled over $800,000 by making fraudulent personal purchases using his company credit card and clients’ credit card numbers. The defendant used his company credit card to pay for his personal travel throughout the United States, Mexico and Europe, and made unauthorized personal charges including purchases from high-end retailers like Sony, Gucci, Neiman Marcus, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, and Van Cleef & Arpels.

The defendant took over 25 unauthorized trips at the company’s expense. He purchased Super Bowl 42 tickets in February 2008 and chartered private flights for himself, his friends and his family to Phoenix, AZ. He charged over $69,000 for airline tickets, hotel rooms, limousine rides, Super Bowl tickets, and tickets for three privately hosted parties and a tailgate event prior to the game. Two weeks later, the defendant flew himself and his friends to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for his birthday celebration with his friends. He charged over $89,000 to the company to pay for a chartered flight on Virgin Airlines, ground transportation, a private five bedroom villa at the Four Seasons Punta Mita Resort, and commercial airline tickets for the return flight.

Between January and March 2008, the defendant donated trips to a charity auction on behalf of the company without authorization. Belisario obtained the credit card numbers of the victims who won the auction bids under false pretenses. Loren B. had a winning bid of $3,000 and Patrick M. had a winning bid of $1,000. They were told to contact the defendant to arrange their trips. They both independently decided to book Hawaiian vacations through the defendant. After they gave the defendant their credit card numbers, they noticed unauthorized charges on their credit cards. They contacted the defendant, who said it was a mistake and he would have the charges reversed. After there were more unauthorized charges, totaling $57,000 for Loren B. and $10,350 for Patrick M., they contacted the company. The company’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) was unaware of the donated trips or any of the defendant’s interactions with Loren B. or Patrick M., and both victims received full reimbursement from the company.

On March 6, 2008, Belisario was fired. The defendant admitted making fraudulent charges and signed a promissory note to repay the company. As a result of Belisario’s theft, the company lost business, 15 people lost their jobs, and over 50 employees were forced to take a significant pay cut.

On Oct. 9, 2008, the defendant was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport as he arrived on a flight from northern California, where he was living at the time. Among his possessions were papers with credit card numbers written on them. Police contacted the banks and discovered that one number had reported fraud activity. The second number, which had no fraud activity, was the replacement for the first number with fraud activity. The third credit card number was invalid.

Belisario was sentenced to 12 years in state prison concurrent to Case # 08NF0476, was ordered to pay over $1 million in restitution, and fined an additional $1 million.

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