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Westport Man Pleads Guilty in $1.5 Million Embezzlement

A Westport accountant pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Hartford today to embezzling $1.5 million from two firms over a two-year period for his personal use.

Noel D. Lara, 40, of 25 Saugatuck Ave., who was arrested by Westport police in May, pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of money obtained by fraud. (See WestportNow May 13, 2008)

Lara, who worked for two Connecticut companies, admitted that he used company money to fund personal expenses including the purchase of designer watches and clothing, finance payments to motor vehicle companies and investments in stocks

U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant ordered Lara to be sentenced on Oct.17 at which time he faces a maximum term of 10 years in prison, a fine of $3.1 million, as well as an order of restitution to his victims.

The court ordered Lara to forfeit assets, including five luxury automobiles, three motorcycles, a scooter, nine watches, a black jacket and gray long wool coat designed by Gucci, as well as bank and investment accounts.

When he was arrested in May, Lara, a native of the Philippines, was charged with first-degree larceny from MUUS Asset Management, 228 Saugatuck Ave. Court documents referred to a previous employer who was not named.

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