Om Soni, chief executive of Sonix Medical Resources before it went bankrupt in 2010, is charged with second-degree grand larceny and scheme to defraud. He faces up to 5 to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Sonix, which was based in Hauppauge, had 180 employees across the country, District Attorney Thomas Spota said, with a 401(k) retirement account, to which both employees and the company contributed. But when the company hit a rough patch in 2008, Spota said Soni -- who already had a Bentley, a Mercedes-Benz and a Lamborghini -- diverted $278,000 from that account so he could buy another Bentley and another Mercedes-Benz.
Prosecutors said the money also paid executives' salaries.
"He was living the high life," Spota said, adding Soni's wife ran up credit card bills of about $50,000 a month. "Our goal is to get the employees' money back."
"Nothing could be further from the truth" that Soni stole from his employees, said his attorney, John Carman of Garden City. "This is a man who used his personal resources to prop up a company that was in dire financial straits." As for the cars in his driveway, Carman said they had nothing to do with any missing money.
Soni pleaded not guilty Friday and was released without bail by Suffolk County Court Judge Stephen Braslow, who ordered Soni's passport held.