By: Frank Esposito
December 2, 2011
AVON LAKE, OHIO (Dec. 2, 12:50 p.m. ET) — A former European sales rep for materials firm PolyOne Corp. has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail for embezzling more than $2 million from the firm.
Lubos Arnold, a sales rep based in the Czech Republic, was sentenced on Dec. 1 by Judge John Adams in U.S. District Court in Akron, Ohio. Arnold had been charged with wire fraud and was arrested Sept. 12 at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
Arnold, age 55, illegally withdrew $2.3 million from a PolyOne bank account in the Czech Republic between June 2009 and June 2011. According to a court affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Sean McGovern, Arnold himself was the victim of a scam in which he gave the money he took from PolyOne to individuals who told him he was to receive a $12.5 million inheritance.
Arnold had asked PolyOne officials for a personal loan in late 2009 to help him obtain the alleged inheritance. At that point, Arnold already had stolen almost $500,000 from the firm, the affidavit said.
Officials with Avon Lake, Ohio-based PolyOne issued the following statement on Dec. 2:
“Earlier this summer, as part of our internal control processes, we identified some serious violations against our company. We immediately notified the proper authorities, including the FBI, which ultimately resulted in the arrest and conviction of a former employee.
“PolyOne has the highest ethical standards, and we will remain proactive in associate training and monitoring for ethical business conduct. Behavior contrary to those standards will not be tolerated.”
PolyOne officials declined to comment on the case.
According to the affidavit, PolyOne officials began to investigate the matter in July 2010 after noticing a large debit balance in its Czech account. A bookkeeper in PolyOne’s Prague office — who had agreed to disguise Arnold’s illegal use of funds — told PolyOne officials that the large balance was for a loan to allow a local warehouse contractor to build a storage warehouse facility.
Arnold met with PolyOne officials in Prague in July. At that time, according to the affidavit, he admitted to taking the money for a personal loan, even though he had not been authorized to do so. Arnold added that the bookkeeper — who is not identified in the affidavit — did not benefit in any way from the money that Arnold took.
Arnold told officials he was first informed of the alleged inheritance by a London-based attorney identified as Randolph Brown. In some cases, Arnold withdrew cash and traveled to Amsterdam, where he met with a person named Andy Fish, who claimed to be connected to the inheritance. Arnold also wired funds to bank accounts in the U.S. and Hong Kong that were tied in to the alleged inheritance.
PolyOne ranks as North America’s largest compounder. The firm posted global sales of $2.6 billion in 2010.