What do you get if you buy stuff for your boyfriend and yourself from high-end retailers like Sony, Gucci, Neiman Marcus, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, and Van Cleef & Arpels, as well as 42 Super Bowl tickets for yourself, family and friends for a weekend of partying that includes limos, hotel rooms and private jet travel, followed two weeks later by a luxury birthday bash for yourself in Puerto Vallarta? If you're former Irvine 38-year-old Jeremy Kealoha Belisario, who used company credit cards and closed bank accounts to illegally purchase all that and more, you get 12 years in the slammer, $1.6 million in fines and an order to come up with an additional $1 million in restitution.
Belisario, a travel manager who embezzled $825,000 to book his trips and buy his crap, pleaded guilty Friday to one felony count each of grand theft by an employee and fraudulently using an access card for one case against him, and two counts of grand theft, two counts of identity theft, two counts of acquiring access card information without permission, and one count of embezzlement by an employee for a second case, to which he also admitted to sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $500,000 and property damage over $150,000.
The first case covers Belisario's time at TravelCorp USA Inc. in Anaheim, where between June 2006 and July 2007 he was a manager who fraudulently bought 13 separate airline reservations for himself and his boyfriend using a debit card from his closed personal bank account. He was able to force the transactions through by entering a fake authorization code after the bank had initially declined the purchases, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA), which adds the bank had closed the account because Belisario wrote numerous bad checks. For that case, he was sentenced to two years in state prison to be served concurrent with the time he got for the second case. He was also ordered to pay more than $24,800 in restitution.
Then, while working as an air manager between July 2007 and March 2008 at a family owned business that specialized in corporate incentive travel and planning large corporate travel events such as conferences and retreats, Belisario made more than $800,000 in fraudulent personal purchases using his company credit card and clients' credit card numbers.
He used the funds to pay for his personal travel throughout the U.S., Mexico and Europe, the unauthorized personal charges at Sony, Gucci, Neiman Marcus, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, and Van Cleef & Arpels, and the 2008 Super Bowl weekend in Phoenix, where he spent more than $69,000 for, among the other goodies mentioned at the top, tickets for three privately hosted parties and a tailgate event prior to the game. Two weeks later, it was off with his friends to Puerto Vallarta, where he charged more than $89,000 to the company for a chartered flight on Virgin Airlines, ground transportation, a private five bedroom villa at the Four Seasons Punta Mita Resort, and commercial airline tickets for the return flight. He charged a total of 25 personal trips.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Also, between January and March 2008, Belisario donated trips to a charity auction on behalf of the company without authorization. Two "winners" who bid $1,000 and $3,000 for Hawaiian vacations were then directed to book through Belisario, who used their credit card numbers to make unauthorized purchases. When the folks discovered this on their bills and confronted Belisariom, he claimed it was a mistake and he would have the charges reversed. Instead, he made more unauthorized charges totaling $57,000 for one victim and $10,350 for the other.
The burned charity winners then contacted the company, whose chief operating officer was unaware of the donated trips or of his employee's interactions with the victims. Both received full reimbursement from the company and, on March 6, 2008, Belisario was fired. He admitted making fraudulent charges and signed a promissory note to repay the 30-year-old company which, as a result of his theft, lost business, had to let 15 employees go and cut the pay of more than 50 who remained.
Belisario was arrested on Oct. 9, 2008, at, appropriately enough, Los Angeles International Airport, where he'd arrived on a flight from his new home in Northern California. Among his possessions, prosecutors say, were papers with credit card numbers written on them. One number turned out to be for an account where fraud activity was reported, while the second was a replacement number for the first number. A third was invalid.
The fines of $1.6 million Belisario has been ordered to pay go to the County of Orange.