Former Systemax exec indicted in bribe case

Systemax Corp. headquarters in Port Washington. Carl Fiorentino,

Systemax Corp. headquarters in Port Washington. Carl Fiorentino, 56, a former executive, is accused in federal court in Central Islip of taking more than $7 million in kickbacks. (Credit: Handout)

A former executive for Port Washington electronics retailer Systemax Inc. was arrested by the FBI Tuesday and charged with taking bribes in exchange for steering $230 million in business to companies in Taiwan and California, authorities said.

Carl Fiorentino, 56, was indicted in federal court in Central Islip on charges of taking more than $7 million in kickbacks. He was arrested at his home in Coral Gables, Fla.

"Fiorentino had it all -- a lucrative job and a highflying lifestyle. But . . . his loyalties were neither to his employer nor its public shareholders but solely to himself," U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement.

As president of Systemax's computer retailer, TigerDirect, Fiorentino agreed to buy parts from a Taiwanese company in exchange for millions in kickbacks between 2003 and 2011, authorities said. He cut a similar deal with a California company that sold memory components, using the cash from the two alleged schemes to pay for tennis lessons for his son, credit card bills and an $8-million home in Coral Gables, according to the seven-count indictment.

Fiorentino was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday before a federal judge in Florida on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. The charges carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison.

Neither Systemax nor Fiorentino's lawyer returned calls requesting comment.

Fiorentino's younger brother, Gilbert Fiorentino, was TigerDirect's chief executive until resigning from Systemax in 2011 in the wake of an internal investigation of the company's Miami operations.

The following year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges against Gilbert Fiorentino, accusing him of siphoning more than $400,000 in merchandise and undisclosed compensation from Systemax. He settled the charges without admitting wrongdoing, agreeing to repay the company and pay a $65,000 fine.

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