NEW YORK - Former Weber Shandwick CFO Frank Okunak has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for embezzling $16 million from the agency over nearly a decade.
The US District Court for the Southern District of New York this week also sentenced Okunak to three years of supervised released and ordered him to pay roughly $26 million - $16 in restitution and a $10.8 million forfeiture.
Okunak, who also served as Weber Shandwick's COO, pled guilty in July to one count of wire fraud and one count of falsification of the books and records of a public corporation, Weber Shandwick parent Interpublic Group.
“Frank Okunak conducted a nearly decade-long conspiracy to embezzle millions of dollars from his employer and the public shareholders of his employer.
Today's sentence should serve as a warning to executives that if they use their company's money as if it were their own, they will face lengthy prison time,” said US Attorney Damian Williams in announcing the sentencing.
According to the court, Okunak from 2011 through 2020
stole the money through false accounting and record keeping to fund his personal lifestyle and business ventures. Okunak used the money to cover start-up costs of his own business, luxury boxes at sporting events and donations to his alma mater. He hid the expenditures by
preparing or having others prepare invoices and other documentation indicating the funds were used for legitimate purposes, the court said.
okunak's 2020 departure from weber shandwick came after a 25-year run with the firm that included global financial and operations oversight. At the time of his exit, Okunak's had spent more than seven years as chief operating officer, prior to which he served as CFO.
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