U.S. Arrests Former Samsung Executive for Embezzlement

A former director at a Samsung unit was arrested on a wire fraud charge Thursday on allegations that he had embezzled about $1.5 million from the company, U.S. prosecutors said.

Samsung Headquarters
Samsung Headquarters

John Y. Lee, 44, who was a director at Samsung America's Korea Export Department, was fired by the company after the alleged scheme came to light, the U.S. Attorney's office in New Jersey said in a statement.

Lee allegedly engaged in an elaborate plan between 2002 and 2007 to embezzle the money, prosecutors said.

He created a fictitious entity and falsified various documents including purchase orders, invoices and approval forms to make it appear as though the entity were providing metal refining services to Samsung Corning Precision Glass, a joint venture of Samsung and Corning prosecutors alleged.

Lee, who received about $1 million from Samsung America through the scheme, spent the money on personal expenses, including for a down payment on a house in Fort Lee, N.J., prosecutors said.

The wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.