HR

Top HR executive at magazine publisher Mansueto Ventures arrested for allegedly defrauding company

The exec was put on unpaid leave in April.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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The head HR executive at magazine publisher Mansueto Ventures has been arrested for allegedly defrauding the company of $429,000 over the course of four years, Semafor reported Wednesday.

According to a criminal complaint filed on April 27, Nirvani Sabess, who according to her LinkedIn served as Mansueto’s director of people and culture since September 2018, has been charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Sabess allegedly kept payroll active for employees who had been put on unpaid leave or left the company, but diverted their payment to her own personal bank account. Sabess was suspended without pay in April, according to the complaint.

An automatic reply from Sabess’s email states, “I am currently on leave without any access to voicemail or email.” Several emails to employees at Mansueto, the publisher of Inc. and Fast Company magazines, were not returned.

RoseMarie Terenzio, a spokesperson for Mansueto, confirmed the news to HR Brew in a statement via email: “Mansueto Ventures recently discovered that one of its former employees was allegedly committing financial fraud against the company, amounting to mid-six-figures.

“We immediately launched an internal investigation, then referred the matter to law enforcement and terminated the sole employee involved. As a result we are strengthening the security of all our systems.”

A representative for the US Southern District of New York, which is prosecuting the case, declined to comment.

As detailed in the complaint, Sabess “would have had the ability to obtain administrative privileges” over the company payroll system. She allegedly used this access to change employees’ passwords and security questions, then reroute their direct deposits to her own account.

Robert Tsigler, the lawyer representing Sabess, told HR Brew via email: “The Tsigler Law team will leave no stone unturned in the defense of Ms. Sabess. We ask that the public not rush to judgment and wait for [all the] facts and evidence to come out in court.”—SB

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.