The former comptroller of two Poughkeepsie companies has pleaded guilty to an embezzlement charge, according to the companies’ attorney, Michael S. Pollok, and has agreed to repay $2.5 million.
Mark Cina, 56, of Pleasant Valley, was comptroller of Atlantis Energy Systems and its Business Systems Technology Corp. affiliate, from 2010 to 2015.
Atlantis makes solar energy products and BST fabricates plastic products. Both are owned by Frank Pao.
When Cina asked for more money for payrolls, according to the criminal complaint, Pao transferred funds to Atlantis. Cina then diverted the money for his own use, under the guise of paying business expenses.
Cina was given more day-to-day authority in 2013 and 2014, because Pao was dealing with health problems. After Pao’s health improved in 2015, he noticed financial discrepancies and reported his suspicions to state police.
Cina was accused of mail fraud last July, in federal court, White Plains.
He had used company payroll, checks, debit cards and credit cards, the complaint says, for expenditures that had no obvious business purposes.
He withdrew $825,000 in cash, for example, wrote checks for $599,000 to himself and ran up $457,634 in charges at Garden Mini Deli in Poughkeepsie. He used the ill-gotten gains to gamble, pay rent, dine out and pay for other personal expenses, the complaint says.
He had been seen buying scratch-off lottery tickets, for example, at the minimart. Last summer Atlantis and BST sued Cina, his brother Jack, and its former accounting firm, D’Arcangelo & Co., in Dutchess Supreme Court. The companies are demanding $3 million for fraud and malpractice.
Jack Cina, a D’Arcangelo partner, was responsible for Atlantis’ and BST’s services, the civil complaint says, and he allegedly overlooked or ignored unauthorized transactions by his brother.
“He was entrusted with our client’s financial information and tax preparation during the relevant time periods,” Pollok said. “That trust was breached when the principal of the victim companies was stricken by illness and the fraud perpetrated.”