Digital vice chairman for Purple Sox sports activities channel charged with embezzling $500,000 from community

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Name it the curse of the scam-bino.

A high-ranking govt on the sports activities channel owned by the Boston Purple Sox has been charged with allegedly embezzling greater than $500,000 by organising a sham firm with the identical identify as an actual vendor to be able to direct funds into his personal pockets.

Ariel Legassa, 49, of Burlington, Conn., had been the vice chairman of digital media for NESN from 2019 till final month when firm officers found the lacking cash, in line with prosecutors.

A lawyer for Legassa didn’t instantly return a message searching for remark.

Launched in 1984, NESN is majority-owned by the Purple Sox’s father or mother firm with the remaining managed by the corporate that owns the Boston Celtics and Bruins. It broadcasts video games for all three groups.

A spokeswoman for NESN mentioned the court docket filings spoke for themselves and declined to remark additional.

A couple of 12 months after Legassa began working for NESN, prosecutors say he allegedly started steering funds to a Stamford, Conn.-based firm referred to as Alley CT, for net design and upkeep companies he purported the agency was offering for the community.

In actuality, NESN had a contract for related companies with a New York-based firm referred to as Alley NY, in line with court docket paperwork. Legassa, who led a workforce of dozens of staff and oversaw all of the community’s digital contracts, claimed the 2 firms had been the identical, prosecutors mentioned. 

Each firms had been listed as Alley Interactive, LLC of their registration papers.

Legassa even went as far as to instruct the community’s accounting division to create a distinct vendor ID for the sham firm, claiming it was a individually integrated entity from the one in New York, however that they had been, actually, the identical enterprise, court docket paperwork alleged. 

Over the course of the following two years, prosecutors mentioned Legassa submitted invoices for $672,500 for work purportedly performed by Alley CT, of which the community paid $575,000. Throughout the identical interval, the corporate paid Alley NY $400,000 for a similar work.

Prosecutors say Legassa then shifted a lot of the cash into his personal financial institution accounts, utilizing some to repay a $50,000 auto mortgage and different credit-card money owed.

Based on a separate civil swimsuit filed by NESN in opposition to Legassa, Alley CT by no means truly supplied any companies for the community.   

Finally, staff in NESN’s finance division detected the discrepancy and a evaluation of incorporation paperwork confirmed that Legassa was listed because the proprietor of Alley CT.

When confronted, Legassa tried to say that Alley Interactive LLC was a “frequent identify” in line with NESN’s civil swimsuit. However when pressed by the community’s head of finance, he admitted he had created the Connecticut firm, and that it had no relationship with the one in New York, prosecutors mentioned. He was fired on Jan. 6 and NESN filed a civil swimsuit in opposition to him the next day.

By the top of January, Legassa was criminally indicted on mail-fraud fees in federal court docket in Boston and he was arrested in Connecticut on Wednesday.

If convicted, Legassa faces as much as 20 years in jail.

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