The former chief financial officer for Perlis Inc. — the upscale clothing store on Magazine Street — pleaded not guilty this week in federal court to bank fraud, identity theft and two counts of wire fraud.
The U.S. Attorney charged Michael Sapera, 55, in January, alleging that he stole almost $3 million during his 19 years working at the clothing store. Court documents don’t name Perlis as the business where Sapera, a certified public accountant, had worked since 1990. But Sapera’s LinkedIn page indicates that he was the CFO and director of information technology for Perlis Inc.
Sapera allegedly forged his employer’s signature on about 430 checks. He would write the checks to himself and deposit them into his own bank account, according to court documents.
The indictment further alleges that from July 2011 to August 2014, Sapera made 45 wire transfers of corporate funds to his personal account without permission by the company owners.
The second count of wire fraud alleges that from June to October 2014, Sapera transferred $35,000 from the company PayPal account to his own PayPal count, according to court documents.
In all, Sapera allegedly stole, about $2.8 million.
On the bank fraud charge, Sapera could face a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. He’s also been served with two notices of forfeiture. Currently, Sapera is out on a $50,000 bond.
Rearraignment is scheduled for Feb. 26, suggesting that he intends to plead guilty.