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Tacoma man off to federal prison for embezzlement

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on July 31, 2009 at 4:35 pm with No Comments »
July 31, 2009 4:35 pm

A federal judge in Seattle on Friday sentenced a Tacoma man to two years, three months in federal prison for embezzling more than $300,000 from a Kent company that ultimately went out of business.

Christopher W. Phillips, 63, previously was convicted of mail fraud.

From 2002 to 2005, Phillips worked as the chief financial officer of Vitech, a firm that manufactured breath mints and breath strips.

Federal prosecutors contended that Phillips used his company credit card for personal use – paying for lavish trips, fancy dinners and luxury merchandise – and paid his personal bills with company money.

“Vitech’s owners ultimately had to sell the business for a fraction of its worth,” according to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.

Before pronouncing sentence, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said Phillips turned “thievery into an act of entitlement” and that his actions were “a substantial and major factor in termination and loss of this business.”

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