Boca CFO Accused of Stealing More than $300K from his Employer
By Jason Schwartz
The chief financial officer of a Boca Raton advertising firm is accused of embezzling nearly $330,000 from his company.
Charles Abel, 50, of Palm Springs, was charged with grand theft and money laundering. He was released from the Palm Beach County Jail after posting a $100,000 bail.
According to the arrest report, Abel, who served as the CFO of Hutton-Miller, 1200 S. Rogers Circle, devised the scheme, which included using unauthorized checks and wire transfers to divert the money from the company to his personal account. He also made unauthorized purchases on the company credit card and frequently padded his paycheck, police said. The alleged theft occurred over three years, according to the report.
Once he became CFO, Abel converted the accounting files from paper backups to electronic, his bosses told police. He also recommended they fire a part-time bookkeeper, police said.
As CFO, Abel had access to all financial documents including tax filings and employee benefits, according to the report. He also was responsible for payroll, controlled all cash management functions and was responsible for journal entries to expenses and revenues, according to the report.
Abel, who earned $104,000 annually, was hired in 2011, according to the arrest report.
Police began their investigation in February 2014 after the company learned of his actions through a phone call from their bank.
They looked into the tip, confirmed a crime occurred and notified authorities.
A company executive told police that when they confronted Abel, he admitted to stealing from the business.
Abel told police investigators in February 2014 that he used the money to help buy a home for his family in the Parkland Golf and Country Club. He also used the company’s credit card to pay his son’s tuition to Temple University in Philadelphia, to take vacations and to repair his Land Rover, according to the report.
The estimated value of the theft was about $500,000, but investigators could only connect Abel to $329,913.77.