July 23, 2009

Purina exec indicted for alleged fraud

A Nestle SA U.S. pet food manager was indicted on fraud charges for allegedly spending $250,000 on himself with his company credit card, prosecutors said.

Nestle Purina PetCare Marketing Director Thomas Faulkner, 40, used his corporate American Express card for personal trips to the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla., college football games, Sirius Satellite Radio subscriptions, iPod portable digital music player purchases, various gift cards, meals and other entertainment and travel, acting U.S. Attorney Michael Reap alleged.

An indictment accuses Faulkner of using bills for legitimate travel expenses to fabricate fake invoices, which he then submitted to the company for reimbursement, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

A St. Louis federal grand jury indicted Faulkner on one felony count of mail fraud July 1, but the indictment remained sealed until he was arrested Wednesday.

Faulkner pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court.

Faulkner, who was terminated in June after an internal investigation, had been involved in promoting the corporate brand and pet products such as Mighty Dog and Dog Chow, the Post-Dispatch cited his resume as saying.