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Plano man charged for bilking employer out of $1.6 million

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A Plano man has been charged with racking up $1.6 million dollars in personal expenses on company credit cards, announced Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah.

On Tuesday, Steven Duety, 45, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud. He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Rebecca Rutherford on Friday.

“It is unacceptable for an employee to steal from his employer,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah. “This defendant’s alleged abuse of his company credit card is wire fraud and the Northern District of Texas will not stand for this sort of misconduct.”

“Mr. Duety was in a position that required trust and integrity and his alleged actions abused his position,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “The FBI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to hold those who enrich themselves via fraudulent schemes accountable for their actions.”

According to the indictment, from 2015 to 2019, Mr. Duety oversaw fleet functions for Builders FirstSource, a publicly-traded construction products manufacturer. The company gave him access to several company credit cards, which he was supposed to use for fleet-related expenses, such as titling, renewing registration, etc.

Instead, Mr. Duety allegedly conspired with a relative, identified in court documents as “Person A,” to use the credit cards for personal expenses as well as inventory for their respective candle businesses, including “Steves The Man Candles.” 

Mr. Duety frequently charged company credit cards for nonexistent transactions via Square or Intuit, causing the payment processors to remit money from Builders FirstSource straight into his or Person A’s bank account. He and his coconspirators sometimes characterized these transactions as “car repair” or “fundraiser,” when no such things had occurred.

Mr. Duety allegedly spent the money on cars, dining (including expensive steakhouses), first class airline tickets, luxury hotels, car rentals, furniture, Amazon charges, toys, groceries, landscaping, a Netflix subscription, laser tag, and trips to Hooters, as well as first class airline tickets and kitchen appliances for Person A.

“This is really a pain in the butt,” Person A wrote in an email to Mr. Duety on October 18, 2016. “My story is you bought 100 fundraiser candles in case they call you.”

An indictment is merely an allegation of criminal wrongdoing, not evidence. Like all defendants, Mr. Duety is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

If convicted, he faces up to 200 years, 20 years per count, in federal prison.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Wirmani is prosecuting the case.

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