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Fry's executive accused of embezzling $65 million

Original post made on Dec 23, 2008

A Fry's Electronics executive and Palo Alto resident has been accused by the IRS of embezzling more than $65 million to finance a Ferrari-driving lifestyle.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 23, 2008, 9:42 AM

Comments (33)

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Posted by Greg K
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 23, 2008 at 9:55 am

Who were the corrupt suppliers that gave this crook the $65 million in bribes?


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Posted by qq
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 23, 2008 at 10:25 am

As the tide of the economy washes out, more of this will be washing up.

Since Fry's is such a large source of tax revenue for the city, we just look the other way on this one, ok??? ;-)

qq


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Posted by qq
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 23, 2008 at 10:29 am

Greg K,

Here is a partial list of possible vendors:

"The vendors that Siddiqui worked with include: Phoebe Micro Inc., Lead Data International, U.S. Media Technologies, and Elite Group Computer Systems. The companies sell a variety of computer equipment, wireless cards, Internet cameras. Some of the correspondence between the companies and Siddiqui were discovered on Siddiqui's desk when the Fry's informant saw them one day, and other documentation was discovered in Siddiqui's trash on Nov. 24."

Web Link

qq


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2008 at 10:55 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Someone shoulda checked him going out the door like they do me.


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Posted by lp
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2008 at 11:11 am

So NOW where are our BEST Buys?...hmmmm


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Posted by Greg K
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 23, 2008 at 11:13 am

I always wondered why Fry's was selling so much off-brand low-quality electronic components. Now I know why.


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Posted by Solon
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 23, 2008 at 2:46 pm

1. How could co-workers and supervisors not notice someone who weekends in Las Vegas, is picked up by private planes, and gambles $55,000,000 million?????

2. If the money is "stolen", doesn't the Sands have to refund it? Isn't there (or there should possibly be) a "KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER" rule as with some banks, it is the DUTY of the bank to KNOW the ownership and legality of CASH. Is this true for casinos?

3. If this is money that should have been income to Fry's, therefore taxable to the City? Does the City have action against Fry's and the Sands?

4. It would seem reasonable to have a GAMBLING RULE that you can only lose your OWN money; and the casino is strictly liable on a "KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER" basis. Thus, you can not BORROW money to lose, or gamble, and you can take you wife or husband's or child's money to gamble,and lose, the casino takes the risk if you whow up, it is your money.


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Posted by joe
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 23, 2008 at 3:03 pm

To Solon

The roots of Las Vegas involve the crime syndicate, which likely still has some presence to this date. Further, casinos have historically been very involved with money laundering. Afraid the old academic honor code will not work in this case.


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Posted by Julie
a resident of Duveneck School
on Dec 23, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Here's a more detailed article with a photo of the guy.

Web Link


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Posted by Ha- NOT from EPA!
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 23, 2008 at 3:52 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 23, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Siemens paid more than $800million to settle bribery charges in the U.S. If IRS is serious about making the criminals accountable, shouldn't they be also filing charges against the companies that have been happily paying the kickbacks?


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Posted by Greg K
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 23, 2008 at 7:09 pm

The Mercury-News published some comments from the companies in question. They seemed to say that they thought they were paying a legal advertising fee to have their products prominently placed in the store to boost sales (which apparently did happen). This is probably going to take a while to sort out, kind of like the Madoff $50 billion dollar investment scandal.


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 23, 2008 at 8:59 pm

Glad I always look for the bargains on the bottom shelves at Fry's :)


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Posted by PA has criminals
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 23, 2008 at 10:07 pm

News flash: not all criminals that pillage PA are from e. Menlo Park or EPA - get real about the criminals in your midst, PA. This guy is gonna keep costing you plenty, for a long time.


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Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 23, 2008 at 11:00 pm

Your best buys are always at Best Buy. I never shop at Fry's. Their service is awful. I also don't feel bad one bit. Maybe it is payback for one of the owners who is building a private 18 hole (he was only to build 9 holes) golf course in Morgan Hill without approval from the city.


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Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Only company I know that will reseal a return package and sell it for new. Watch what you buy there. Make sure the package is factory seal.


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Posted by Fry's Shopper
a resident of another community
on Dec 24, 2008 at 1:02 am

<< Only company I know that will reseal a return package and sell it for new. Watch what you buy there. Make sure the package is factory seal. >>

Fry's does put returned merchandise back on the shelf, but in my experience it has always been re-shrink-wrapped and bears a sticker clearly stating it is pre-opened, and there is a small discount on the price. There are other retailers who will sell you pre-opened merchandise and represent it as new and charge you full price. Maybe you'll cross their path the next time you want to buy a guitar.

IMO Fry's does a deplorable job of managing its inventory. It seems they are always out of some of the most common items (e.g. electronics components) depending on the store. They also need to stop carrying the no-name imported junk. As for service, forget about it. You go to Fry's when you already know what you want. Maybe some of this will change with this guy out of the picture. At least they now have a spiffy store in Las Vegas.


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Posted by It's He
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 24, 2008 at 1:21 am

Think about it, Solon. The Nevada state legislature will never enact legislation which is onerous to the gaming industry (such as a "Know Your Player" rule) because tourism and the casinos represent such a big chunk of the state economy. I'm not even taking into account any "influence" over lawmakers which may take place now or in the past.


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Posted by bruce
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 24, 2008 at 3:26 am

Pretty amazing, when creeps like this get huge amounts of money, what kind of effect do we think it has on other people. they will do anything they can to get that kind of money too, he spends the money in places like Las Vegas on gambling, most likely drugs and prostitution, and we wonder what is going on in this country?

How many others in the Bay Area, how many illegals get funded up here, and for what?

How many politicans are paid to make politics a distracting joke to make sure no one is looking for people like this?

And, how much money goes through Vegas and fund more crime and corruption?


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Posted by Greg K
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 24, 2008 at 8:22 am

$65 million may sound like a big number to your average middle class person, but that is pretty small in the world of corporate fraud. Bernie Madoff stole $50 billion (that is BILLION with a B). The Feds really need to crack down on the billion dollar fraudsters and not get distracted by the small fry's :)


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Posted by Palo Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 24, 2008 at 8:44 am

This morning's PA Daily stole Wally's punchline.


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Posted by Jarred
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 24, 2008 at 10:38 am

Apparently Siddiqui tried to return the money to Fry's, but the line for returns was too long.


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Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 24, 2008 at 12:39 pm

To Frys Shopper,

Twice I have mention that the package was open and then reseal. There was NO discount. There reason was that "it was open, not use and then return". You might buy it, not me. Another reason why I don't shop at Frys.


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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 24, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Just for everyone's information, you are under no obligation what so ever to show them your receipt at the door--the only place were you have to is Costco, where it is part of the agreement you sign when joining. Showing your receipt at Fry's or any other store is voluntary--if they want to accuse you of shoplifting, let them stop you after you exit the store.
I find the practice of checking receipts extremely annoying.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 24, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Where were the auditors, and WHERE WAS THE IRS????


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Posted by James
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 24, 2008 at 9:12 pm

If this is true and you don't need to show your receipt, then we should not show it! Lets all tell Frys I not showing you my receipt, I pay for it, it is mine.


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 24, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Re: Fry's returns.

A friend told me this story several years ago.

He bought a mouse at Frys. 2 months later, he was shopping for his employer in Fry's and bought 2 of the same mice. A week after that, his original mouse crapped out. He returned it to Fry's using the employer's receipt and got store credit for the cost. He got a replacement mouse, but it was a different make. Fry's didn't have any of the original mice left.

2 weeks later, he was in Fry's and saw his mouse shrink-wrapped and priced at the original cost (no discount for opened package, and this mouse didn't work!) It was the only one of that particular make and model, and he recognized the package as the box had a crushed corner.

Yeah, "Your Best Buys Are Always At Fry's". . . .




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Posted by trudy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 27, 2008 at 8:15 am

Outside Observer,

So your friend was a crook?

I must say, this article gave me a little schadenfreude due to the our customers are crooks attitude Fry's has.


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Posted by Jed Cooper
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 27, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Here is the problem, this guy "Ausaf Umar Siddiqui" is suffering from the "ALL ABOUT ME" cultural syndrome. This is not a sickness this is his ego indulgence. And here is the cost.

1) You have to pay higher prices at Fry's - therefore your best buys are not always at Fry's

2) All of Fry's prices suffer an up charge due to less margin on the items that were purchased with this kick back scheme. And are there other items that are sold by Fry's where a kick back takes place?

3) Palo Alto suffers tax revenue losses, because there are fewer over all sales at Fry's due to a competitive price disadvantage to other retailers selling the same items.

4) The public looses even more because this 65 million had to come from some where: a) poor quality in manufacturing? b) time lost dealing with defective and shoddy merchandise? c) Fry's lost revenue with handling returns and other overhead cost. d) more global warming with shipping back defective merchandise? The list is almost endless with crooks like this "Ausaf Umar Siddiqui" guy.

There is not much difference as in other pay to play schemes.
I hope the US attorney and the IRS get 100% conviction on all charges with every one involved.

65 million and only the IRS noticed? Something doesn't smell right; there has to be others guilty as well.

I will not purchase anything from these people.

Phoebe Micro Inc.
Web Link

Lead Data International
Web Link

Elite Group Computer Systems
Web Link


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Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 27, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Wow! Frys resold a broken mouse. Didn't someone above, rip on me for saying the same thing.
Just return a flat screen tv to Best Buy today with a receipt. No problems. No going from one counter to the other for my money. Not like Frys. Oh and they didn't check my receipt at the door after I bought a DVD movie.
Your best buys are at BEST BUY!


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 27, 2008 at 6:19 pm

Trudy,

Is my friend a crook? Maybe, but then maybe the mouse was someone's return when he bought it. Since its Frys, no one will ever know.



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Posted by The Big Lie
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 27, 2008 at 10:36 pm

Fry's credibility will take a big hit should this case ever be accurately reported by any responsible, deep-digging news organization.

First, Fry's press release claimed that no customer was overcharged because of this alleged embezzlement.

That is a Fry's lie. Every Fry's customer paid a portion of the embezzled amount and then some. Any product Omar Siddiqui had a hand in buying for at least the past 3 years from the five named companies (Phoebe Micro Inc., Lead Data International, U.S. Media Technologies, and Elite Group Computer Systems...the companies sell a variety of computer equipment, wireless cards, Internet cameras) was billed by these companies to Fry's about 30% over normal wholesale. Fry's, you can be sure, simply marked up for public retail each and every product 5% to 25% above what Omar arranged Fry's to pay for these grossly overpriced goods. The higher retail prices caused department managers to complain to Fry's management about overly-pricy no-name goods, some of which they ultimately had to mark down to move it out the door.

Fry's knew of Omar's gambling addiction for at least the last five years. How do I know: Fry's is now suing Omar for repayment of two $5 million loans Fry's made to him in November 2002 and February 2003. Watch as these two suits move through the legal process for more disclosures about what Fry's knew and when they knew it. Moreover, several casinos have publically sued Omar during the same five-year period for slow payment of multi-million dollar gambling debts they were owed. Buy a clue, Fry's; those casino collection law suits were bright red herrings warning you about one of your top executives. Now, surprise, surprise, a $65 million embezzlement is discovered in your own shop. It will certainly grow much bigger when the IRS goes back more than the three years they are so far scrutinizing.

But no matter, in the end, Fry's customers paid for the entire embezzlement. In fact, Fry's marked it up above their inflated embezzlement wholesale prices so Fry's customers paid an extra premium for the embezzlement.

Fry's corporate integrity, sales strategies, and mark-up policies are about to come back to bite it right where it will hurt most, in their own pocketbook.


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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 28, 2008 at 2:16 am

To The Big Lie,

Very well said! You bring up some very good points. I bet that Omar counter sues Frys for loaning him money, when they knew he had a gambling problem.
The sad part is that we all pay in the end when we bought something.


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