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Former Latex International CEO pleads guilty in embezzlement case

SHELTON, Conn. — Former Latex International CEO Kevin Coleman pleaded guilty Monday to one count of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion stemming from his embezzlement of about $1.7 million from Latex International and his failure to file federal tax returns for four years, authorities said.

Coleman, who was president and CEO of Latex International from 2007 until he resigned in December 2010, will be sentenced on May 4. He faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to about $3.5 million. He will be ordered to pay full restitution to Latex International, according to the company.

In December Joanne Osmolik, the former head of human resources at Latex International, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in the embezzlement case. She awaits sentencing.

Authorities said that from about October 2008 to November 2010 Coleman and Osmolik embezzled more than $3.4 million in corporate funds to pay personal expenses.

An investigation showed that Coleman used a corporate credit card to charge hundreds of thousands of dollars in diamond jewelry and other items.

Latex International President and CEO Dave Fisher, who succeeded Coleman as CEO, said that after the embezzlement was discovered, "a comprehensive investigation was undertaken using experienced outside investigators and auditors. Evidence uncovered during that investigation was turned over to federal authorities who initiated an independent investigation. That investigation resulted in the guilty plea" entered by Coleman.

Fisher also said that "mandatory federal restitution laws will assist the company to recover at least some of the embezzled funds. Coleman's guilty plea demonstrates that he betrayed his obligations to the company, its employees and stakeholders."

Fisher said he is grateful for the diligent efforts of the U.S. attorney, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. He said that with Coleman and Osmolik pleading guilty, "this sad chapter in our company's history is now formally behind us."

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