SAN JOSE, Calif. – A former Fry's Electronics executive accused of embezzling millions of dollars to cover gambling losses has filed for bankruptcy, listing nearly $137 million in debt.
Ausaf Umar Siddiqui owes about $20 million to Las Vegas casinos, according to his July 13 bankruptcy filing in San Jose. He also has outstanding gambling debts in Connecticut and Britain, however the amounts are listed as unknown.
Siddiqui, formerly a top executive at the electronics retailer, was once considered a Vegas high roller who reportedly demanded casino employees leave golden raisins and bottles of Dom Perignon in his room.
The Internal Revenue Service charged him in 2008 with embezzling $65 million dollars by forcing vendors to pay kickbacks in order to ensure their products were stocked on Fry's shelves. A revised indictment charged him with nine felony counts of wire fraud and money laundering totaling $6 million. He has pleaded not guilty.
Fry's has more than 30 stores in nine states including California, Texas and Georgia.
Siddiqui also owes money to at least five Fry's vendors, according to the bankruptcy filing. He also faces $15 million in state tax liens.
"We're not surprised that he would have filed for bankruptcy," attorney Robert Rivas, who represents two of the creditors with claims against Siddiqui, told the San Jose Mercury News. "But the amount is obviously rather staggering."
Calls to Siddiqui and his bankruptcy attorney, Basil Boutris, by the Mercury News were not immediately returned. And a message left by The Associated Press at a listing for an "A Siddiqui" in Sunnyvale, Calif. was not immediately returned.
Siddiqui was set to go on trial in February, but his attorney in that case, Paul Meltzer, filed a sealed document with the court that month. A call to Meltzer seeking an update on the status of the case was not immediately returned.
Jack Gillund, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said he could only say the case was ongoing.
Information from: San Jose Mercury News, http://www.sjmercury.com