Former QVC executive gets 2.5 years in prison for embezzlement, fraud scheme
A former QVC executive was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in federal prison for perpetuating a $1 million fraud scheme that enabled him to live a luxury lifestyle.
James D. Falkowski, 42, of Buffalo, N.Y., worked as a director for QVC, where he was tasked with enhancing the West Chester, Pa.-based television shopping network’s brand and reputation in the entertainment and fashion industries.
But federal prosecutors said that without QVC’s knowledge or approval, he instead used his role to embezzle and fraudulently obtain from the company over $1 million worth of money, goods and services, such as hundreds of thousands of dollars of first-class travel, hotel and resort stays, spa treatments, dining at upscale restaurants, luxury clothing and accessories, and personal medical treatments, such as Botox treatment.
To cover his tracks, Falkowski created fake invoices purporting to be from The Four Seasons Hotels, luxury car service companies, and other vendors to deceive QVC into paying for the fraud. Falkowski also enlisted the assistance of two QVC vendors to help him defraud QVC. Those two vendors – Los Angeles-based public relations agency “The Steinberg Group,” doing business as “dOMAIN,” and a New York City-based production management company – agreed to submit fraudulently altered invoices and bills to QVC in order to hide Falkowski’s embezzlement.
Additionally, prosecutors said Falkowski caused QVC to pay more than $200,000 in private luxury chauffeur rides for himself and his associates, $70,000 in payments to his personal creditors, as well as $59,500 in gift cards from American Express, Tom Ford and Barney’s New York that Falkowski claimed were for distribution to talent, but he instead used for himself.
The alleged fraud occurred from 2008 until his termination in 2013.
Falkowski was indicted last year and pleaded guilty on March 20 to 11 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. At the sentencing hearing Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Michael M. Baylson also ordered him to pay $832,138.55 in restitution.
SOURCE: Philladelphia Business Journal