A news release from U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman in Newark said Steven M. Zavidow was charged with six counts of embezzling money from an employee benefit plan. Zavidow owned and operated eleven New York Burger King restaurants and established a defined benefit plan for his employees in 1984. He was named as a plan trustee and was a signatory to the plan’s trust bank account.
Quoting a criminal complaint filed in federal court, the announcement said that Zavidow embezzled $263,000 from the trust beginning in March 2006 by issuing approximately five checks, drawn on the trust’s bank account, to himself. He then deposited these checks in his wife’s bank account or cashed the checks at a check cashing store in Paterson, New Jersey.
On one occasion, Zavidow issued a check, drawn on the trust’s bank account to SLZ Processing Corp., a company with a business bank account in Zavidow’s mother’s name, according to the allegations.
On or about March 3, 2006, a day after the first check for $130,000 was deposited into Zavidow’s wife’s bank account, a check drawn on his wife’s bank account, in the amount of $95,777, was issued to pay for the costs associated with remodeling a Demarest, New Jersey, home held solely in her name, prosecutors alleged.
The trust currently has a zero balance.
If convicted, Zavidow faces a maximum term of imprisonment of up to five years and a $250,000 fine per count.