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Online Retail Ex Legal Boss Gets 3 to 9 Years for Embezzlement

Oct. 8, 2020, 7:49 PM

Former Shoplet.com general counsel and senior vice president Leslie Scharf was sentenced to three-to-nine years in prison Thursday in New York State Supreme Court by Judge Gregory Carro for embezzling nearly $7 million from the company.

Scharf worked as legal chief at New York-based Ellison Systems Inc. an online office supply company that operates as Shoplet, for over a decade, beginning in 2006. Shoplet sued Scharf in 2019 for transferring approximately $6.8 million from the company’s Paypal account to himself over the course of six years.

Scharf pled guilty in September and was convicted of one count of grand larceny in the first degree. He was ordered to pay over $757,000 in restitution and give up his family home for a total of roughly $1.5 million, according to a Sep. 3 statement.

“Although the massive amount stolen sets this case apart from recent prosecutions of unscrupulous attorneys, the pattern is familiar—the defendant moved the stolen fortune into multiple bank accounts and used it to fund a life of luxury,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. said in the statement following the guilty plea.

A BMW and a Porsche were among Scharf’s purchases, according to the statement.

Scharf began to manage the company’s Paypal account in 2007, according to Shoplet’s July 2019 complaint. He later diverted funds from Shoplet’s account to his own in amounts less than $1,000 each time.

Prior to joining Shoplet, Scharf worked as an attorney for Brown Rudnick Berlack Isreals, and Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, according to his LinkedIn bio.

Scharf was represented in sentencing by Victor Rocco of Herrick Feinstein, who did not immediately respond to request for comment. Finkelstein Filler represented Shoplet.

The case is ELLISON SYSTEMS, INC. D/B/A vs. SCHARF, LESLIE H, Docket No. 653888/2019 (N.Y. Sup Ct. Jul 08, 2019), N.Y. Sup. Ct., 653888, 10/8/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at rchen@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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