A man who spent several years as the lighting manager for online and TV shopping network QVC has pleaded guilty to stealing about $1.8 million from the company.
Douglas Rae pleaded guilty to stealing from the West Chester-based QVC Inc. by submitting bogus invoices from two lighting companies he controlled from 2006 to 2013.
Rae, of Bethlehem, also acknowledged funneling other phony invoices to QVC through two other people who already have pleaded guilty: John Hodde, of Aubrey, Texas, and Michael Keppler, of Ridgewood, New Jersey. Hodde and Keppler also were QVC vendors. They will be sentenced next month on wire fraud charges for working with Rae to supply other invoices for phony purchases that QVC paid. Rae split the money with those men, who were prepared to testify against him before he decided to plead guilty Monday instead of going to trial.
Rae used some of the money to buy jewelry and yacht and golf club memberships. He rang up $83,000 in restaurant tabs and other lavish spending, including vacation homes in the Pocono Mountains and in Hilton Head, South Carolina, federal prosecutors in Philadelphia said.
His attorney said it was the “right decision” for him to take a plea.
“If he went to trial and was convicted, the amount of years he was facing was staggering compared to what ultimately can be worked out if he enters a plea and accepts responsibility,” attorney John Waldron said, noting the evidence against him was overwhelming.
Rae pleaded guilty to several charges, including fraud and money laundering, which carry a maximum combined sentence of 130 years in prison and fines up to $1.75 million.
The sentence, to be handed down Dec. 12, will be driven by guidelines that take into account Rae’s criminal history, if any, the amount of money stolen and other factors to be determined by a pre-sentence investigation.
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