Posted on: September 26, 2023, 04:42h
Last updated on: September 26, 2023, 04:42h
Two employees of famous ventriloquist Terry Fator have been accused by Las Vegas police of embezzling nearly $1 million from him. Fator gained fame after winning Season 2 of “America’s Got Talent” in 2007 and performed at the Mirage from 2009 to 2020 before moving to New York-New York in 2021.
Vincent Souza, the former treasurer for Fator’s company, Puppet Boy Entertainment, is facing multiple counts of theft above $3,500, according to records obtained by KLAS-TV.
Souza was arrested last week based on a warrant and was released without bail after a walk-through initial appearance.
Souza allegedly embezzled the funds through unauthorized salary increases and business credit card expenses. His salary increased from $150,000 in 2015 to $200,000 in 2017.
The name of the second employee, a payroll supervisor, has been redacted from the documents. However, it is unknown whether she will face charges.
Fator reported the theft to the police in October 2021, two months after suing his accounting firm. The case was resolved through arbitration, as reported by KLAS.
Previous Case Dropped
It has been revealed that Fator filed a similar complaint with the FBI, which was not previously disclosed to the press. However, for undisclosed reasons, federal agents and the Nevada Attorney General’s office decided not to pursue charges, according to KLAS.
In 2020, Souza dismissed the entire office staff, including himself, due to concerns about the company’s financial viability. That same year, he made unauthorized expenses using the company credit card for a vacation to Hawaii, as well as trips to Europe and Disneyland.
In 2022, Souza used fraudulent purchases made with his company credit card to place a security deposit on a residence in Buena Vista, Florida, using Disney Vacation Points. He also used the card for a down payment on a new Tesla and spent “tens of thousands” on season tickets for the Vegas Golden Knights.
“Mr. Souza is presumed innocent, and I believe he will remain so,” said Jack Buchanan, Souza’s attorney, in a statement to KLAS. “Our investigation is just beginning into allegations that span multiple years, and we anticipate that Mr. Souza will be cleared of all charges once a thorough legal and accounting process is completed.”
Souza’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for January 16.