By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former top executive at the North American operator of Juan Valdez coffee has been sentenced to between three and six years in a New York state prison after stealing more than $900,000 from the company.
Rosita Joseph, 52, the former chief operating officer of NFCGC Investments Inc, was sentenced on Wednesday by Justice Laura Ward of the Manhattan criminal court, after pleading guilty to one count of grand larceny in the second degree.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement that Joseph “brazenly fleeced her employer” over more than five years to inflate her paychecks, pay for expensive vacations including to the Bahamas and Barbados, and buy gold and diamond jewelry and Gucci accessories on Amazon.com.
The Brooklyn resident was sentenced after reaching a plea agreement. Her lawyer Liam Malanaphy said in an email: “In expressing profound remorse, Ms. Joseph took full responsibility for her actions.”
NFCGC manages U.S. retail sales of Juan Valdez coffee and several Juan Valdez cafes. Its parent Procafecol SA, which was created by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, represents the interests of coffee growers and operates Juan Valdez cafes.
Prosecutors said NFCGC fired Joseph after she had refused numerous document requests for a routine financial audit. Joseph had faced up to 15 years in prison on the grand larceny charge.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Alistair Bell)