Canadian Accountant Caught Buying Nearly $7 Million Worth of iPhones and iPads With Company Credit Card

The National Post has shared the story of a Canadian accountant who was caught after buying nearly $7 million worth of iPhones and iPads with her company credit card and reselling them to the owner of a small electronics store.

Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Nadia Minetto, who was as an accounting manager at Mississauga-based software company Wescom Solutions, started buying thousands of Apple products with her company-issued American Express card in 2011. It had been her job to approve business expenses for all employees, so her spending went unnoticed.

Over the next two and a half years, the Ontario Superior Court found that Minetto sold 5,321 iPads and 4,942 iPhones to businessman Gabriel Fung, who in turn sold them at his store Plus One Solutions in the Toronto area and to wholesalers in Hong Kong, turning a profit of just over $1 million.

Fung first met Minetto after responding to her ad for an iPad on Kijiji, a popular Craigslist-like classifieds site in Canada. Their transactions eventually became more elaborate, often involving 10 to 20 devices at a time, ultimately leading to bulk shipments to the address of a virtual business set up by Fung.

The scheme came to an end in July 2014, when consultant Kristine Pacy discovered spending irregularities as Wescom was contemplating becoming a publicly traded company. The court determined that at least $6,831,834 of Wescom's money was misappropriated dating back to May 2009.

Minetto admitted to her actions and, in October 2014, she consented to a judgment in the amount of $6,831,834.17 plus interest. Wescom also won a judgment for more than $5 million against Fung, but he was awarded his cross claim for the same amount against Minetto, potentially reducing his amount owed.

This week, an Ontario appeals court dismissed Fung's appeal over his judgment, potentially bringing the case to an end.

Tag: lawsuit

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9 months ago
I spent 40 in gas last week and there was turmoil in my company... I need to talk to Nadia.
Rating: 11 Votes
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9 months ago

At $7M (and probably climbing), how did she think this was going to stay unnoticed?


People don't see the bigger picture when they're doing stuff like this. It begins with one or two purchases a month. Then a few a week. Then you really think you can get away with it and becomes the norm. "Oh, time to boost this month's paycheck."

You get overconfident. Purchase in bulk, lose perspective, and get sloppy.

Before you know it, you've racked up 7 million dollars.
Rating: 7 Votes
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9 months ago
At $7M (and probably climbing), how did she think this was going to stay unnoticed?
Rating: 5 Votes
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9 months ago

If this company was properly/thoroughly audited (Especially with a credit card), Nadia would’ve have been caught much earlier on to stop her antics. A lot of companies are audited once, if not twice a year with any external expenses with company credit cards.


I agree with this statement though with a twist... If this company was private at the time of the fraud, they may not necessarily be a requirement by the government to be audited, so there is a failure point there.

This is more so an issue of a lack of internal controls, as she is the accounting manager that oversees everyone’s credit cards, she should not have been allowed to oversee her own. Her charges should have been reviewed by the CEO, CFO, Controller, or some supervisor above her.
Rating: 4 Votes
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9 months ago
If this company was properly/thoroughly audited (Especially with a credit card), Nadia would’ve have been caught much earlier on to stop her antics. A lot of companies are audited once, if not twice a year with any external expenses with company credit cards.
Rating: 4 Votes
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9 months ago
Now that is a true fanboy.
Rating: 3 Votes
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9 months ago

The court determined that at least $6,831,834 of Wescom's money was misappropriated dating back to May 2009.

Minetto admitted to her actions and, in October 2014, she consented to a judgment in the amount of $6,831,834.17 plus interest.

So... she embezzled 6.8 million dollars, she got caught, and the punishment for her crime is, she has to pay back the 6.8 million dollars? There are a lot of people doing hard time for lesser crimes who would love to get that sort of a deal.
Rating: 3 Votes
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9 months ago

I agree with this statement though with a twist... If this company was private at the time of the fraud, they may not necessarily be a requirement by the government to be audited, so there is a failure point there.

This is more so an issue of a lack of internal controls, as she is the accounting manager that oversees everyone’s credit cards, she should not have been allowed to oversee her own. Her charges should have been reviewed by the CEO, CFO, Controller, or some supervisor above her.


Exactly. The company is equally at fault for having a flawed setup of purchase approval. Many employees feel entitled to get as much as they can from their employer. They feel like they are "owed", even when they sit there doing nothing for hours.
Rating: 3 Votes
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9 months ago

An audit is not designed to detect fraud.


I don’t agree with this at all, nor is it entirely accurate. I do see your point about how audits sole focus is _not_ to detect fraud, but it’s nearly impossible for fraud not to be detected from a thorough auditor/audit, that’s the caveat. I worked in corporate loss prevention for years on these types of cases for external misappropriation of funds/credit cards, business accounts, etc. my specific duties were to locate/extract any type of suspicious activity that didn’t correlate with the company’s expenses. Now, the difference being, I worked closely with auditors who initially may find a discrepancy with some type of fraud, and then pass it off to us for the initial investigation. My point being, auditors may not initially be looking for fraud, but in most cases, they detect it even if it’s not their first intention. It’s the same difference, but different job responsibilities.
Rating: 3 Votes
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9 months ago

If this company was properly/thoroughly audited (Especially with a credit card), Nadia would’ve have been caught much earlier on to stop her antics. A lot of companies are audited once, if not twice a year with any external expenses with company credit cards.


This a common misconception about audits and isn't necessarily true. An audit is not designed to detect fraud. Auditors do not look at every transaction. They use a concept called materiality to determine what they do our don't look at as well as assessing internal controls. If this amount was under their materiality threshold, they may have never seen it. If she was doing this since 2011, then you can estimate that she was misappropriating about $875k per year. For a large company (as I'm assuming this is, since it was looking to go public), in a tech industry, purchases like this may not raise a red flag. The onus here is on the company's finance department for allowing this person to approve their own expenditures, as that's a blatant violation of segregation of duties and likely would have prevented this, unless there was collusion with another employee.

Moral of the story? An audit would not necessarily have detected this as audits are not designed to detect fraud. They are designed to determine whether financial statements are materially accurate according to generally accepted accounting principles.

Source: am CPA/auditor.
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At $7M (and probably climbing), how did she think this was going to stay unnoticed?


Greed is always the downfall of these types. If they keep it small, they can cover their tracks. The greedier you get, the harder it is to cover. Just look at Enron.
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Lack of effective internal controls.


Exactly! Segregation of duties, people!!!
Rating: 2 Votes
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