Contempo Inc USA Controller Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud

Peter Suk Lee started working for Los Angeles accessories maker Contempo Inc. USA in August 2014 as the controller at the company.

But one year later, the owners were alleging that the 49-year-old had embezzled nearly $1.4 million from the company, according to court documents.

On May 9, after an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lee pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a federal bank fraud charge and admitted he embezzled funds from Contempo Inc. USA, a family-owned business that imports and distributes fashion accessories.

From August 2014 to September 2015, Lee was Contempo’s controller. According to the federal lawsuit against him, he was charged with embezzling money by forging the signatures of company officers on 92 unauthorized checks that were made out to him and several associates. The checks totaled $1.38 million.

Lee admitted that he deposited $393,400 of those embezzled funds to his personal TD Ameritrade account and had other funds wired to casinos for his use.

At the time, Lee was free on bond and awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to wire fraud for embezzling $2.65 million from Glovis America Inc., an Irvine, Calif.–based automotive logistics company where Lee worked as an account manager.

While in court, Lee also admitted that between working at Glovis and Contempo, he embezzled $70,000 from a third company, Orion Technology Inc. in Placentia, Calif.

“This defendant’s brazen theft of millions of dollars from three different employers in only a few years was extremely harmful to those companies,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “That Mr. Lee continued to victimize employers while pending sentencing on fraud charges makes his actions all the more outrageous.”

Lee faces a statutory maximum sentence of 90 years in federal prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter on Aug. 15.