Convicted Absolutely New Inc CFO Indicted on Fraud and Contempt Charges

A former chief financial officer who admitted stealing more than $2 million from his employer has been indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco on new charges of fraud allegedly committed both before and after his previous conviction.

Henry Lo, 51, of San Francisco, a former CFO of the now-defunct Absolutely New Inc., is currently serving a sentence of five years and 10 months in prison for his previous fraud conviction.

In the earlier case, Lo pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco in November to two counts of wire fraud with company funds and one count of bank fraud in a separate scheme against an individual.

He admitted during the plea that he stole a total of more than $2 million from Absolutely New between 2008 and 2012, through a combination of cashier’s checks deposited in his accounts and payments to his credit card and brokerage accounts.

Some of the thefts occurred after his employment was terminated in September 2010. The company, which sought to help inventors launch new products, went out of business in 2012.

Lo also admitted to diverting $125,000 into his wife’s brokerage account in 2013 in checks that had been intended as tax payments by a friend for whom he promised to prepare tax returns.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick sentenced him to the prison term on April 9 and also ordered him to pay restitution of $2,198,195 to the company and $34,670 to the individual victim. Lo previously repaid the individual $91,000, prosecutors said in a filing.

The new indictment, issued by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, charges Lo with 13 additional counts of fraud, contempt of court and other offenses.

One of the charges is contempt of court for violating a court order by transferring his ownership interest in a $3.1 million house in San Francis Wood to his wife in August 2014. The order, issued by a federal magistrate in 2013 in a civil lawsuit filed by a bank, barred him from selling or transferring property except as needed for reasonable living expenses.

Lo is accused of eight counts of bank fraud for allegedly misappropriating about $984,000 worth of checks intended as federal tax payments in 2014 and 2015 by a company, Character SF LLC, for which he was serving as a contract chief financial officer.

He is also charged with identity theft in forging the signature of a company owner, two counts of engaging in financial transactions with illegal proceeds and contempt of court for engaging in additional crimes following his previous conviction.

A date for his initial court appearance on the new charges has not yet been set.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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