BurgerFi Chain Involved in Embezzlement Lawsuit
The popular BurgerFi chain has been blossoming throughout South Florida. Many residents in the area have nothing but positive remarks when it comes to the chain. The restaurant also boasts its humane and natural meat, which is becoming a must-have in reputable burger restaurants. However, the chain is falling under some scrutiny as the current partners of the BurgerFi business entity are filing several lawsuits against David Mainiero after he abruptly split from the company earlier
this year, without giving a reason why.
BurgerFi and Competition
According to an article in the Palm Beach Post, Mainiero’s ex-partners claim he was stealing from the restaurants to support his lifestyle, decorate his home and open competing restaurants. The estimated loss is around $1 million, according to Lee Goldberg, one of the ex-partners.
The lawsuit alleges that beginning in 2010, Mainiero, and wife, Lynn, started diverting money to themselves from vendors who served the restaurants. For instance, the lawsuit claims between December 2010 and March 2011, Southern Wine & Spirits paid $73,500 to a Mainiero entity, instead of the restaurants.
The lawsuit also claims that Mainiero, during a trip to California to scout locations for BurgerFi, decided instead to open a competing burger joint called Urbun Burger in Laguna Beach, Calif., using the trade secrets of BurgerFi. The lawsuit claims that $67,500 was paid by Southern Wine to Urbun, even though the money was supposed to be for BurgerFi. Even West Palm Beach-based Cheney Brothers provided equipment valued at $5,000 that was intended for the restaurants but instead was diverted to David’s son, David Jr., and Urbun, the lawsuit claims.
And that’s not all. Restaurant Development Group LLC, the entity that owns such eateries as The Office and Vic & Angelo’s, just filed a “cybersquatting” lawsuit in U.S. District Court, alleging the Mainieros have not surrendered the restaurants’ websites, vicandangelos.com and theofficedelray.com after turning over ownership of the two restaurants. They allege in the lawsuit that the Mainieros have “hijacked the domain names and attempted to use them as bargaining chips.”
Goldberg said he believes law enforcement is looking into the allegations of theft. But Robert Saraga, an attorney for Mainiero, said he has no knowledge of any law enforcement investigation. He also said he planned to file an answer, with counterclaims.
Money Laundering and Embezzlement
Money laundering is a felony, which may be charged in state or federal court. The penalties include jail time, a fine, and the forfeiture of any cash seized by the government. If the cash from an illegal enterprise is deposited in a bank account that contains other funds, the entire bank account could be seized.
Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly appropriating funds or assets for one’s own use rather than its intended use. The charge is also a serious felony.
If you have an investigation filed against you for money laundering or embezzlement, you are in for a long legal process. A criminal defense lawyer can conduct his own investigation into your case to make your you have the best possible proactive defense in this situation.