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Former HR Chief at AIG, Others Charged in Alleged Headhunting Scam

Federal authorities have charged a former human resources VP of American International Group Inc. and three accomplices with defrauding the insurer of $1.1 million with phony bills for employee search services.

December 20, 2007
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Federal authorities have charged a former human resources vice president of American International Group Inc. and three accomplices with defrauding the insurer of $1.1 million with phony bills for employee search services.

FBI agents and local police arrested John J. Falcetta, a former vice president with AIG’s life insurance division, on Tuesday, December 18, in Nantucket, Massachusetts. He was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in federal court in Boston.

Arrested separately were Gary J. Santone and Thomas Pombonyo, while a fourth defendant, Justin Broadbent, was still being sought Wednesday.
 
According to a federal criminal complaint, Falcetta moved from Philadelphia to New York to take his job with AIG in September 2005. His duties included managing contracts with employee search firms, and he had the authority to add firms to AIG’s approved list of vendors and to pay vendor bills up to $50,000.

Over the next two years, until AIG terminated him in August, Falcetta approved payments to bogus headhunter firms set up by Santone, Pombonyo and Broadbent, authorities allege. Those payments included $320,525 to G. Santone Associates, run by Santone; $674,886 to two firms, Enterprise Business Group and Global Search Affiliates Inc., run by Pombonyo; and $120,000 to Broadbent Advisory Group, run by Broadbent, the complaint says.

The four companies then kicked back $462,476 to Human Capital Management Partners, an entity Falcetta had created, authorities charge.

None of the search firms actually performed any work for AIG, and at least some of them appear to exist only on paper, the complaint suggests. The address Broadbent Advisory gave on its invoices, for example, is a residence belonging to Broadbent’s mother, and its fax number is registered to a Dunkin’ Donuts store in Philadelphia, the complaint says. The fax number on Santone & Associates’ bills belonged to a Philadelphia jewelry store.

Filed by Douglas McLeod of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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