Ex-Gottex accountant charged in U.S. with embezzling $3.4 million

A former accountant for Gottex Fund Management Holdings Ltd has been criminally charged with embezzling nearly $3.4 million over a four-year period from the Swiss hedge fund firm.

Gary Tiffany, 32, was arrested on Monday and charged in a criminal complaint filed in a federal court in Boston with bank fraud, wire fraud and engaging in illegal monetary transactions, prosecutors said.

Switzerland-based Gottex, which has $7.4 billion in assets under management, was not identified by name in the complaint. But regulatory and other documents show it employed Tiffany, who was terminated last year.

Neither a spokesman for Gottex nor a lawyer for Tiffany responded to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Authorities said that Tiffany joined the company in June 2010 as an accounting associate and acted as its main bookkeeper and as the office manager for its New York and Boston offices.

According the complaint, from April 2011 through November 2015, Tiffany wired funds from the company’s accounts to his own and forged checks in order to embezzle $3.38 million.

He concealed the scheme by making false entries in the company’s accounting system and by manipulating its bank statements to remove references to wire transfers he made into his own personal accounts, prosecutors said.

Tiffany’s theft was only discovered after he was laid off in mid-2015 amid a company downsizing, when his replacement reviewed the company’s bank statements, the complaint said.

In an email to his former supervisor in London on Nov. 17, Tiffany said he “made terrible mistakes and choices in my life” and that he felt guilt and shame for his choices, the complaint said.

Days later, he admitted to two other executives that he had transferred $1 million to himself and spent it, the complaint said.

The case is U.S. v. Tiffany, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, No. 16-mj-01055.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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