The former chief digital officer of movie network EPIX, Emil Rensing, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at his Manhattan home Tuesday, charged with masterminding an elaborate fraud scheme against his former employer that netted him more than $8 million over a period of about five years, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. The arrest was first reported by Reuters.
Reuters said that Rensing, 42, was charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Rensing was released on $500,000 bond and through his lawyer told Reuters in a statement that he denies the allegations and did nothing wrong.
According to U.S. Attorney Bharara, Rensing allegedly billed the entertainment network for digital media services contracted to companies that he owned. Those services, for the most part, were never performed, it is alleged.
Rensing also allegedly listed several former associates and business partners as personnel of the bogus vendors, which led to the identity theft charges.
“As alleged, Emil Rensing abused the trust of his employer, hiding behind false and stolen identities, and submitting fraudulent invoices for millions of dollars of services never performed,” Bharara said in a public statement. “Thanks to the hard work of the FBI, Rensing’s alleged scheme has been uncovered.”
If convicted, Rensing could face more than 20 years in prison.
“Greed clouds people’s judgment, so much so that in this case Rensing allegedly used his friends’ names in a scheme to steal money from his employers,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez in a statement. “This isn’t a case of an employee keeping the change after getting coffee for the office, Rensing is accused of stealing $8 million from the company that hired him.”
EPIX is a joint venture between Viacom, Lionsgate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Rensing worked for EPIX between April 2010 and August 2015. He was terminated by the company shortly after it discovered the scheme and its lawyers questioned Rensing, according to Reuters.
In a statement, EPIX said it is cooperating with the investigation. "Emil Rensing was terminated by EPIX in August 2015,” said an Epix spokesman in a statement. “EPIX is cooperating fully with the U.S. Attorney's office in their investigation."