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Feds investigate $17m of missing kit at CompUSA

CEO out, SEC and FBI in as gear disappears in Miami

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The FBI have taken charge of investigations into the reported theft of $17m (£10.4m) worth of electronics allegedly stolen from Systemax-owned CompUSA by two brothers of fired exec Gilbert Fiorentino and other former employees.

Only last month, the SEC confirmed it was looking into matters surrounding the departure of Fiorentino, ex-CEO of Systemax's technology products group.

Fiorentino was suspended in April after a whistleblower made unspecified allegations about his business practices and he quit in May, returning $11m in financial rewards. He is co-operating with the SEC, as is Systemax.

The plot has thickened further, according to US reports, after Miami Dade police were called in by CompUSA loss prevention manager Ronald Lopez. Lopez claimed he was tipped off that Carl and Patrick Fiorentino (also former company execs) and two ex-employees were "taking merchandise".

"Upon doing a larger inventory, it has been determined that about $17m in electronics had been stolen," according to a Miami Herald report. The incident occurred on 5 July at CompUSA and sister firm Tiger Direct's HQ.

Lopez is reported to have told coppers that store video and witness statements about the thefts were available.

According to sources close to the investigations, the $17m loss may include the electronics and also kickbacks or other lost revenue.

Fiorentino brothers Carl and Patrick, president and veep of sales at Tiger Direct respectively, were also kicked out of the business on the same day as Gilbert in April.

The other two former employees alleged to be embroiled in the theft include Andrea Fongyee – who was Gilbert Fiorentino's personal assistant – and Gerdy Carballo, a handyman who did work for Fiorentino outside of the business. Both deny involvement.

El Reg contacted the Miami-Dade police department to confirm details of the case. We were also told that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had assumed charge of the probe due to the size of the theft.

"The FBI has taken over the case," said a police spokesman.

The FBI said: "It is FBI policy not to discuss investigations."

Systemax refused to comment. ®

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