A Rockville Centre man denied Friday that he stole $429,000 from the company where he was employed as the chief financial officer after he was accused of using the money on trips, gift cards, car payments and funneling some of the funds through two girlfriends he had hired as consultants.
Christopher Cortese, 54, pleaded not guilty to grand larceny at First District Court in Hempstead and was released without bail.
Cortese, the former CFO of Kainos Partners Holding Company, LLC, a corporation that owns and operates several Dunkin Donuts franchises, was suspected of stealing after his colleagues discovered financial irregularities, including $53,500 for a home office, $60,000 in gift cards, and more than $100,000 in trips, meals and other expenses, Nassau County prosecutors said Monday.
In addition, Cortese “hired” two girlfriends as consultants, funneling $110,000 to one woman for information technology services that were never performed, used company funds to pay the first payment on a leased Mercedes Benz for the woman and secured company health and dental benefits for her, despite her not being a company employee, prosecutors said. Another girlfriend allegedly received $20,000 for services never performed.
“The level of this defendant’s deception, arrogance and sheer greed is shocking,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement.
Cortese is represented by Mel Ruskin, who declined to comment. Cortese faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. He is due back in court April 6.