NEW YORK — Nearly $25.8 million: That’s the amount that Aéropostale Inc.’s former chief merchandising officer, Christopher Finazzo, has to forfeit as a result of his conviction last week of mail and wire fraud and conspiracy charges.
Jurors in the Finazzo criminal fraud trial on Thursday returned guilty verdicts on 14 counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. The 12-member panel returned to court Monday to determine the forfeiture phase in which they unanimously decided in a special verdict that Finazzo must forfeit almost $25.8 million; all assets of a subsidiary of South Bay Apparel; four pieces of real estate in Calverton, N.Y., that the jury determined were acquired by the subsidiary from ill-gotten gains from the fraud and up to $300,000 in a TD Ameritrade account.
Finazzo, 57, was indicted in 2010 in connection with a multimillion dollar kickback scheme involving one of the retailer’s key vendors, South Bay Apparel. Government prosecutors presented evidence that Finazzo directed more than $350 million in orders while at Aéropostale to South Bay and in turn received more than $25 million in illegal kickbacks from the vendor.
U.S. District Court Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf in Brooklyn told the jurors that they need to find a proper connection between each asset at issue and the convictions determined last week.
After statements from counsel on both sides and the recalling of one witness to the stand, Judge Mauskopf instructed jurors on the law, telling them that they need to find guilt only on the “preponderance of the evidence,” which means a “fact more likely true than not true.” It is a lower standard than that which jurors used last week to decide guilt on the crimes charged, which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
The forfeiture was sent to the jurors around noontime and the verdict was reached in two hours. Finazzo was calm, but seemed tired, as the verdict was read. One family member was present Monday, compared with the past three weeks when he was surrounded by family and friends in the courtroom.
According to legal sources, the government hasn’t made any determination yet on whether it will seek restitution in the case. That will be determined at sentencing, which could be in a few weeks.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation assisted the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the investigation of the case.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye