Update: Arrested on a mail-fraud charge as well.
NESN today sued its now former vice president for digital media to recover the $575,000 it charges he made off with by sending money to a company he made up with a near identical name to a company the network actually wanted to work with.
In a suit filed in US District Court in Boston today, the sports network owned by the Red Sox and Bruins charges that Ariel Legassa, whom it hired in 2019 to lead its online efforts, created a dummy company called Alley CT and then funneled money to it that was supposed to go to Alley NY, an actual company, with employees and everything, that was to supply software and Web development for a new project NESN was working on.
Until he was fired yesterday, Legassa oversaw a staff of two dozen.
NESN alleges Legassa created his dummy Alley company last February, about three weeks before he oversaw the signing of a contract with the actual Alley company.
The following day, he sent invoices from Alley CT totaling $110,000 to NESN’s Accounts Payable department for payment, even though NESN had no contract with Alley CT. ...
At various times between March 3, 2021 and January 5, 2022, Legassa sent NESN’s Accounts Payable department at least eleven invoices purportedly from Alley CT for payment by NESN. As VP of Digital, Legassa had authority to approve invoices relating to digital media, and he sent these invoices at various times from his personal and NESN email addresses.
The invoices from the Alley CT are identical to invoices NESN received from Alley NY in all respects (including in the use of Alley NY’s trademark design) except that Alley
NY invoices include the mailing address for Alley NY and information about how to make a payment directly to Alley NY’s Chase account; whereas Alley CT invoices include the Connecticut address controlled by Legassa and lacked any bank account or routing information.
NESN says it only learned of the subterfuge on Tuesday, and claims Legassa acknowledged at least part of the fraud in a phone call with NESN's vice president of finance yesterday. The network than cashiered him.
In its suit, NESN says it wants its money back, plus attorney and court costs, plus any damages a jury would conclude Legassa needs to be made to pay.
Legassa has yet to respond to the suit.