Houston News & Search
Photo: Hoxton/Tom Merton/Getty Images/Hoxton
A Shady Acres couple pleaded guilty to hiding a $1 million online spending spree for high-end clothes, furniture and electronics by billing the purchases to the man’s employer.
Bradley David Freitas pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and Loren Elizabeth Freitas, entered a plea Friday to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Over a five-year period ending in 2014, Bradley Freitas admitted to stealing $1,009,634.45 from Orion Real Estate Services Inc. in Houston, in some instances with his wife’s help.
Among the items they purchased were an expensive Gucci purse and wallet, Bruno Magli shoes, a dining room table, watches and electronics, which the husband invoiced as routers, software, office supplies and laptops, according to court documents.
The couple admitted purchasing the items, then reselling them on eBay or other ways for personal profit.
During several years as IT director at the real estate firm, Bradley Freitas admitted he covered up unauthorized purchases from Amazon, NewEgg and CDW by indicating the items were needed for his department.
Kevin Fulton, attorney for Freitas’ former employer, now called the Allied Orion Group, said the company caught on to the fake invoices during a routine auditing process.
“It was unfortunate that a person of trust decided to betray that trust for their own personal gain,” Fulton said. “The positive thing is the accounting systems in place made it possible for the company to pick up on what Mr. Freitas was doing and it enabled them to compile enough evidence so he pleaded guilty rather than have him face a trial.”
He said a civil lawsuit against Freitas for breach of his fiduciary duties, will move forward after the federal criminal case comes to a close.
Bradley Freitas’ lawyer, Peter Joseph Bray, of the federal public defender’s office, declined to comment on the case. His client faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Sim Lake set Bradley Freitas’ sentencing for July 21.
Loren Freitas helped her husband make decisions about what to purchase and mailing the items to their customers via FedEx or UPS. She faces a maximum of five years in prison at her sentencing June 14.
Her attorney, Richard Kuniansky, called the case “a most unfortunate situation.”
“She got wrapped up into something that was stupid on her part, and she very much regrets what she did,” he said. “She had an extremely limited role in this. She didn’t work at the company and she didn’t take anything. Unfortunately, she assisted in mailing some stuff.”
Kuniansky said his client is hoping for leniency from the judge. She has two young children with special needs, and she will be asking for home confinement, so she can care for them.
The couple remains free on bond.
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