Citizens of Humanity Allegedly a Victim of Embezzlement
Four men have been arrested on charges they embezzled $8 million from a commercial laundry house owned by Citizens of Humanity, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The four defendants, accused of falsifying and inflating various invoices, were taken into custody Jan. 5 and soon after made their first appearance in U.S. District Court, where they were released on bond and ordered to return for arraignment on Feb. 1.
Arrested was Luis Mariano Rodriguez of East Los Angeles, who was the one-time president of CM Laundry LLC, which was acquired by Citizens of Humanity in 2007. The laundry, in Gardena, Calif., did the various washes for Citizens of Humanity, the high-end denim company based in Huntington Park, Calif. Citizens was started in 2003 by blue-jeans designer Jerome Dahan, one of the founders of 7 For All Mankind.
Also arrested were Antonio Anguiano of Riverside, Calif., the owner of FI Products, which sold personal protective equipment; Terry Mink of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., the owner of H&T Industrial Products, a hardware company that serviced CM Laundry; and Rene Bautista of Sylmar, Calif., the owner of Valley Star Realty, which is accused of being used in the scheme under the fictitious business name K&R Industrial Supplies.
“Mr. Rodriguez allegedly orchestrated a long-running scheme that took millions of dollars from his employer,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The scheme involved other defendants who also allegedly stole proceeds generated through fraudulently issued bills. All of these individuals must now face the criminal justice system for their criminal conduct.”
According to court documents, Anguiano, through his company, FI Products, billed CM Laundry for more than $3.6 million from May 2007 to September 2013, when the scheme ran. During this time, FI Products transferred approximately $2.3 million to Rodriguez and his company, Genesis Electronics Inc.
Mink, through his company, H&T Industrial Products, allegedly billed CM Laundry for more than $5.5 million and transferred $3.6 million of that to Rodriguez.
Bautista, a real estate agent, is accused of participating in the scheme through his company, K&R Industrial Supplies, set up in 2012 allegedly at the behest of Rodriguez. Court files maintain that Bautista used his company to submit invoices from Genesis to CM Laundry. Over an 18-month period, the U.S. District court said, K&R Industrial billed CM Laundry for approximately $640,000 and transferred approximately $493,000 to Rodriguez and Genesis.
The federal complaint charges Rodriguez with three counts of mail fraud. The other three defendants were each charged with one count of mail fraud. If they are convicted, each defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each count.
Rodriguez was released on a $150,000 bond. Anguiano and Mink each were released on $100,000 bonds, and Bautista posted a $25,000 bond.