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Hudson Valley Man Charged With Embezzling $7M From Firm

Court for the Southern District of New York, serving the counties of Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and New York City.
Court for the Southern District of New York, serving the counties of Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and New York City. Photo Credit: Google Maps

A 47-year-old Dutchess County man embezzled $7 million from a financial firm which he used to pay off gambling debts and for the purchase of luxury cars and an outdoor pool, according to charges filed Wednesday.

Christopher Canale, who worked for Bank of New York's Mellon Pershing LLC unit as an accounts payable manager, was arrested Wednesday morning at his home in Poughkeepsie, according to Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Bharara said in a statement that Canale "used his employer’s bank accounts as his own, siphoning off millions to pay for personal expenses, including an outdoor pool, vacations, and luxury cars. Thanks to the efforts of the FBI and prosecutors in our Office, Christopher Canale’s alleged 13-year fraud scheme has come to an end.”

From 2003 to September 2016, Canale accomplished the fraud by making unauthorized wire transfers and by cashing checks without authorization, Bharara said.

In some instances, Canale inputted fake invoices and wire transfer instructions into one of the firm’s software programs and in other instances, he made checks out to petty cash, forged the name of his former supervisor on those checks, and kept the cash, according to Bharara.

Canale used the Firm’s funds to pay for numerous exorbitant personal expenses, including an outdoor pool, an outdoor sound system, landscaping for his home, and at least one luxury car and also paid bills for a credit card account and sent approximately $40,000 in wire transfers to another individual, according to Bharara.

Canale was fired in September, court papers stated.

Canale has been charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, and one count of bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

He has also been charged with one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

“It would make most of our lives easier to know there was a large stash of cash in the bank, and we didn’t have to worry about the cost of landscaping the yard, putting in a pool or buying a luxury car," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. stated. "However in this case, (Canale) did those things using money that wasn’t his. Making matters worse, he’s accused of forging his boss’s name. The FBI is dedicated to the pursuit of those who steal from our financial community.”

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