A former accounting manager who fled to Costa Rica to escape charges of embezzling more than $36 million from a Los Angeles company is expected to plead guilty Thursday to federal charges.
Paul McDaniel, 42, of Orange fled to Costa Rica in early 2017 but was arrested later that year and extradited to Los Angeles seven months ago, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
McDaniel, also known as Edward Martin Karuku, is expected to plead guilty in Los Angeles federal court to a wire fraud charge linked to the theft of funds from Hypermedia Systems Inc., a media-technology services firm, prosecutors said. McDaniel worked for an accounting contractor employed by Hypermedia.
Prosecutors said that as part of his job, McDaniel was charged with making payments to Hypermedia vendors. According to the indictment, McDaniel formed a corporation using a name similar to one of Hypermedia’s vendors, then directed more than $36 million in funds to shell company and created bogus invoices on letterhead of actual Hypermedia vendors to justify the expenses.
McDaniel allegedly used the stolen funds to pay off $23 million in credit card debt, and transferred another $8 million to his personal bank accounts.
McDaniel’s plea agreement is sealed. He is facing 10 counts of wire fraud, each of which carries up to 20 years in federal prison.