Investigation reveals comptroller’s spending spree

What does an embezzler spend their money on? In the case of a New York man’s alleged fraud, just about everything, apparently.

Recent news articles report that Mark Cina, a comptroller at two companies in Poughkeepsie, New York, is accused of embezzling $2.5 million over six years (2009-2015). In case you are wondering if he stashed the money away somewhere for safe keeping, the answer would seem to be no, according to the feds.

Instead, he spent it gambling, paying his rent, dining out and plenty of other expenses. In fact, the Poughkeepsie Journal provides an extended list of alleged expenses in an article published Saturday, “Feds: Dutchess man embezzled millions, spent $457,000 at mini-mart.” Here’s the eye-opening laundry list:

  • $457,000 at a mini-mart

  • $180,000 at a gas station

  • $25,000 for rent

  • $125,000 for personal credit card bills

  • $599,000 in non-payroll checks, payable to Cina

  • $282,000 in checks payable to cash

  • $825,000 in cash withdrawals

As if that’s not enough, the Journal adds: “Cina also allegedly spent money at pharmacies, medical and dental facilities and a rental car company.”

Cina is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service and Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

How can this happen? Aside from the staggering amount of the fraud, it’s important to know that employee embezzlement is not rare. Anyone with opportunity and access to an organization’s funds could potentially steal – sometimes over and over again, for years.

It’s often a matter of a trusted employee having too much control over the organization’s finances, with no checks on that control and no proper fraud prevention measures in place.

At CRI Group, we know that fraudsters, cyberattacks, third-party risks, disrupted supply chains and other unforeseen, uncontrollable factors can pose serious harm to your business and cause major concern. Today, smart business owners and executives are asking hard questions, especially before conducting business on a global level:

  • How do we manage the risks to digital and physical assets?
  • Does the organization have the appropriate controls and contingency plans in place to protect our business?
  • How quickly can we respond to a serious business crisis?
  • Can the organization rely on our third-party business partners to maintain appropriate levels of control?

The team at CRI Group can help you roadmap these risks and have sufficient action plans in place to deal with unforeseen threats to your business. Some risk factors cannot be completely avoided. But with the proper response plans in place, we can help bolster your corporate security and resilience, ensuring that your company will overcome such challenges and protect your future success.

Don’t let your organization become a cash cow for someone else’s gambling expenses, dinner tabs or rent payments. CRI Group's experts are trained to work with your organization to find vulnerabilities to fraud, and eliminate or mitigate your risk factors. 

Following a thorough fraud risk assessment, we tailor a fraud prevention strategy that's the perfect fit for your organization to detect and prevent fraud and corruption. With the proper controls in place, you can avoid unforeseen crises like the one in Poughkeepsie, New York.