On Wednesday, Thomas Torre, the former Chief Financial Officer of Metro Fuel Oil Corp., was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and ordered to forfeit $800,000 in criminal proceeds. On May 20, 2015, Torre pled guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud by overstating Metro Fuel’s accounts receivable in order to draw from a revolving line of credit issued by New York Commercial Bank (NYCB). The fuel company later filed for bankruptcy after fraudulently obtaining over $30 million from NYCB. The sentencing proceeding was held before United States District Judge Pamela K. Chen.
The sentence was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Mr. Capers expressed his grateful appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, the agency responsible for leading the government’s investigation in this case.
For sixty consecutive months, from 2007 to July 2012, Torre submitted false certificates to NYCB that falsely overstated the company’s accounts receivables. The bank used the information in the certificates to determine the amount Metro Fuel could borrow on its revolving line of credit. Torre misrepresented the true accounts receivable by deliberately failing to account for the cash payments received from customers and by creating fictitious invoice amounts. By September 2012, the fuel company could no longer pay its bills and filed a voluntary petition for bankruptcy. At the time of the bankruptcy, the company owed NYCB more than $30 million.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorney William P. Campos is in charge of the prosecution, with assistance provided by Assistant United States Attorney Brian Morris of the Office’s Civil Division, which is responsible for the forfeiture of assets.