San Jose, Calif. — The merchandising VP of Fry’s was arrested on charges of embezzling more than $65 million from the chain in an elaborate kickback scheme he used to pay off gambling debts and support a lavish lifestyle.
According to media reports, the Internal Revenue Service has accused Umar Siddiqui of demanding kickbacks from at least five vendors in exchange for placing inflated orders. The payments, which were as much as 31 percent of the cost price of goods, were allegedly hidden in a shell company that paid nearly $18 million to the
Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and subsidized a lush lifestyle that included a Ferrari, a penthouse apartment and private flights charted by casinos.
A criminal complaint says Siddiqui convinced Fry’s senior management to allow him to deal directly with vendors in order to save the company commission fees paid to sales reps.
Siddiqui, who supervised a buying staff of 120, was arrested at Fry’s headquarters here on Friday and was ordered held on $300,000 bond. He has since been fired.
None of the vendors were named as defendents.
Privately held Fry’s sells discounted electronics, computers, major appliances and furniture from 34 megastores located around the country.