Lawsuit: Former CompUSA executives stole millions

Miami HeraldJanuary 9, 2012 

The Fiorentino brothers were aggressive entrepreneurs who grew a small direct-mail catalog company into what is today CompUSA, a national electronics chain owned by a Fortune 1000 company.

Then greed got in the way.

Nearly nine months after Gilbert, Carl and Patrick Fiorentino were physically escorted out of the Miami headquarters of the company they started in 1987, the first official account of their transgressions has emerged in a lawsuit that was filed by CompUSA’s parent company in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.

The suit tells a classic tale of executives feeding at the corporate trough. The allegations include stealing electronics worth millions of dollars, taking family and friends on company-sponsored trips, negotiating kickbacks from vendors, and using employees for personal errands on company time.

Their employees and vendors eventually grew tired of the games and turned them in. A whistleblower investigation disclosed last March launched the demise of the Fiorentino brothers. Carl and Patrick were fired; Gilbert signed an agreement that separated him from the company.

The lawsuit by the New York-based parent company Systemax, and TigerDirect — the Miami-based operating company that bought the CompUSA brand in 2008 — accuses Carl and Patrick Fiorentino of unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty. Also accused in the suit are several others who allegedly aided them in their crimes: three low-level formerTigerDirect employees with connections to the executive suite, a Taiwanese vendor and its owner, and a Miami yacht maintenance company and its owner.

“Carl Fiorentino is the poster child for personal greed and unethical corporate conduct, having intentionally stolen and wasted million of dollars of money and other assets,” the lawsuit claims. Carl was TigerDirect’s president; Patrick was a vice president. Systemax bought TigerDirect in 1995. Systemax and TigerDirect are seeking “millions of dollars in damages.”

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