Ex-CFO gets prison in $429G theft

Christopher Cortese, 54, of Rockville Centre.

Christopher Cortese, 54, of Rockville Centre. (Credit: NCDA, 2013)

Authorities said an ex-chief financial officer for a company that operated Dunkin' Donuts franchises is going to prison after stealing more than $429,000 from his employer to fund luxuries for himself and fake consulting jobs for two girlfriends.

Christopher Cortese, 57, of Rockville Centre, previously pleaded guilty to a grand larceny charge.

Nassau County Judge Philip Grella Thursday sentenced Cortese to 11/2 to 41/2 years in prison, according to authorities.


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Authorities also said the judge ordered Cortese to repay the money to the company, which previously filed for bankruptcy protection.

"Mr. Cortese hurt innocent colleagues of the company he defrauded and violated the trust all employers put in their employees," Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement.

Authorities said Cortese had worked as chief financial officer for Kainos Partners Holding Co. LLC, a corporation based in upstate New York that has owned and operated more than 50 Dunkin' Donuts stores.

Prosecutors said the company began investigating Cortese after seeing he spent more than $100,000 in trips, meals and other expenses, along with $60,000 on gift cards and about $53,000 for a home office.

Authorities said he hired two girlfriends as consultants, but they never did any work. Authorities said Cortese paid about $109,000 to one woman for information technology services, made a car lease payment for her and got her medical benefits. Cortese paid the other woman $20,000 for work she didn't do, according to law-enforcement officials, who didn't identify either girlfriend.

"Mr. Cortese accepted his sentence with dignity and is glad this matter is behind him," his defense attorney, Glenn F. Hardy, said in an emailed statement.

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