Ex-Systemax Unit President Indicted in Bribery Case

The former president of a Systemax Inc. (SYX) electronics sales unit was indicted on charges that he took bribes in exchange for steering more than $230 million in business to suppliers.

Carl Fiorentino, 56, took more than $7 million from companies in Taiwan and California from January 2003 to April 2011, the government alleged in a seven-count indictment unsealed today in federal court in Central Islip, New York. Fiorentino used the money to pay for an $8 million home in Coral Gables, Florida, the services of a hip-hop music promotion company and tennis lessons for his son, the U.S. alleged.

“Fiorentino had it all -- a lucrative job and a high-flying lifestyle,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “But as alleged in the indictment and court papers, his loyalties were neither to his employer nor its public shareholders but solely to himself.”

Formerly president of the Miami-based TigerDirect unit, Fiorentino is charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each charge, according to prosecutors.

Court Appearance

Silvia B. Pinera-Vazquez, his attorney, said Fiorentino appeared today in federal court in Florida and was released on a $1 million personal surety bond. He is expected to appear in a New York court next month, she said.

“He looks forward to his day in court,” Pinera-Vazquez said in an interview.

Along with TigerDirect, Systemax, which is based in Port Washington, New York, owns assets of the CompUSA retail chain and the e-commerce business of the former Circuit City.

Fiorentino was terminated by the company in April 2011, at about the same time his brother, Gilbert Fiorentino, was placed on administrative leave as chief executive officer of Systemax’s technology products group. Gilbert Fiorentino resigned from the company in May 2011, according to the firm.

The personnel changes came after an independent investigation was completed of its Miami operations, according to a May 2011 statement from the company. Gilbert Fiorentino agreed to surrender $11 million in assets to the company, the firm said.

Paid Penalty

In September 2012 Gilbert Fiorentino settled allegations with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that he received $400,000 in undisclosed compensation from firms that did business with Systemax and stole several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of company merchandise, the SEC said.

He agreed to pay a $65,000 penalty without admitting or denying the allegations, the SEC said.

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for Lynch, declined to comment on whether Gilbert Fiorentino would be charged criminally, citing an “active investigation.”

Daniel Gelber, a lawyer for Gilbert Fiorentino in the SEC case, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

The case is U.S. v. Fiorentino, 13-cr-00338, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Central Islip).

To contact the reporter on this story: Christie Smythe in Brooklyn at csmythe1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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