Lawyer: Former Systemax exec target of new probe
Carl Fiorentino, a former executive charged with taking bribes while working for Port Washington electronics retailer Systemax Inc., is the target of a second federal criminal investigation, according to a court filing.
The grand jury probe, assigned to the economic crimes unit of the U.S. attorney's office in Miami, is being run by the Internal Revenue Service agent who worked on the criminal case in New York against Fiorentino, according to the filing submitted by his lawyer Sunday.
"Our hope is that the investigation is not going to go anywhere, and that Mr. Fiorentino will not face charges in any other jurisdiction," the lawyer, Silvia B. Piñera-Vazquez, said in an interview.
Fiorentino, 56, is free on bail and awaiting federal trial in Central Islip after being arrested in June. He is charged with taking more than $7 million in bribes from Systemax's computer-component vendors. In return, he gave the suppliers more than $230 million in business, the authorities said.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. The charges carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison.
Fiorentino was president of Systemax's computer retail subsidiary, TigerDirect. He built the Miami-based business along with his brothers -- Gilbert Fiorentino and Patrick Fiorentino -- and all three continued to work there after Systemax acquired the unit in 1995.
The three brothers were fired, however, in 2011 after a whistle-blower sparked an internal investigation of the company's Miami operations. Later that year Systemax filed a lawsuit in Florida accusing Patrick and Carl of stealing millions from the company. Both deny the allegations.
The third brother, Gilbert, was accused by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of funneling more than $400,000 in merchandise and compensation away from Systemax. He settled the civil charges without admitting wrongdoing, agreeing to repay the company and pay a $65,000 fine.
Carl is the only one of the three who has been charged criminally. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Miami did not return a call Monday seeking comment about the disclosure of a second investigation. A spokesman for Systemax declined to comment.
Fiorentino's lawyer disclosed the new investigation in a 120-page request to move his trial from New York to Florida, saying the defendant and most of the witnesses live there.