A former Tadano America executive is on the lam after reportedly stealing more than $9 million from the Houston, Texas-based crane manufacturer. Anthony Chiofalo, the former head of legal affairs at the company since January 2009, was fired for allegedly stealing millions. He is now on the run.
According to KTRK-TV in Houston, Chiofalo would contract with outside firms for legal services, and court documents state that he set up a bogus law firm, Maio and Cardenas, where he made as series of checks payable from Tadano to the fictitious law firm for more than $9.3 million. The money was deposited into a bank account owned by Chiofalo for work that he never performed.
Investigators say Chiofalo transferred money from that bank account to an auction house, where he then purchased nearly $2 million worth of paintings, sculptures, sports memorabilia, comic books, photographs. and other artwork. Law enforcement also discovered in his home several financial documents with the name of the fictitious law firm, as well as forged invoices. They also seized hundreds of thousands of dollars in collectibles, which investigators believe were purchased with the stolen funds. Chiofalo and his wife, 50-year-old Susan Chiofalo, were also renovating a house together.
The Chiofalos have been charged with aggregate theft. Susan Chiofalo has been arrested but Anthony hasn't. She told authorities she hadn't seen her husband in a month. Prosecutors think he fled to New York or Connecticut, where he has family.