Former FTE Networks CEO Michael Palleschi was arrested in New York for what authorities claim was a “years-long scheme to inflate FTE’s revenue, to conceal liabilities and expenses, and to embezzle company funds.”
The company’s former chief financial officer, David Lethem, was arrested in Florida on the same charges. The pair of former executives was separately charged Thursday with accounting fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission and with grand larceny by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.
According to the civil and criminal filings, Palleschi and Lethem were involved in two schemes spanning from early 2016 until January 2019 to fraudulently inflate company revenues and create a misleading picture of FTE’s finances. They additionally misappropriated millions in company funds to bankroll personal activities, such as family trips and adult entertainment.Agenda – ‘Egregious and Brazen’ – Former CEO Arrested
The FTE Board:
Michael P. Beys
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Beys is a partner with the law firm Beys Liston & Mobargha LLP, which he founded in 2009. He focuses his practice on federal criminal defense, complex commercial litigation and real estate litigation. From 2000 to 2005, Mr. Beys served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, where he was the lead counsel in over 100 federal prosecutions and investigations involving racketeering, fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, narcotics trafficking, violent crimes and terrorism. Mr. Beys is also currently a director of Secure Property Development & Investment, PLC, a publicly listed (London’s AIM) owner and operator of commercial and industrial properties in Eastern Europe. In 2005, he co-founded Aristone Capital, a real estate investment firm which provided mezzanine debt financing to New York area real estate developers. In 1999, he founded Cobblestone Ventures, Inc., a real estate development business which has invested in, or actively managed, numerous conversion and new construction projects in downtown Manhattan. Mr. Beys received a B.A. from Harvard College and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Joseph F. Cunningham, Jr.
Mr. Cunningham currently serves as President of Liberty Mortgage Acceptance Corporation, a private mortgage lender arranging commercial mortgage-backed securities and bridge financing, which he co-founded in 1992. In 2009, Mr. Cunningham co-founded Renew Lending, Inc., a residential mortgage banking firm. Mr. Cunningham left the firm in 2017. Prior to 2009, Mr. Cunningham served as Chief Operating Officer of Colwell Financial Corporation, where he was responsible for all divisions including residential production, secondary marketing, construction lending, joint ventures, commercial real estate brokerage, loan servicing, insurance, underwriting, personnel, REO, finance and administration, and legal activities. Mr. Cunningham also previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Granite Financial Corporation, a boutique mortgage banking firm. Earlier in his career, Mr. Cunningham practiced as a CPA in the Boston office of Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Mr. Cunningham received a B.S. in Accounting from Boston College.
Mr. Ghishan is a partner at CPNV, a global real estate development and construction firm based in Nevada. Mr. Ghishan began his career as an attorney working for a regional media holding company based in Las Vegas from August 2002 to February 2005. In February 2005, Mr. Ghishan moved to real estate full time with Andiamo Ventures, LLC, where through September 2009, he developed nearly $10 million in residential projects in Lake Tahoe, overseeing all aspects of development project underwriting, financing, negotiating all entitlements, construction management and sales oversight. In his role as a commercial real estate broker with Commercial Partners of Nevada from February 2007 to June of 2018, Peter assisted a number of developers, lenders and investors in their acquisition and disposition of more than $50 million in commercial real estate assets. Mr. Ghishan received a B.A. from Duke University and a J.D. from the University of Arizona College of Law. Mr. Ghishan holds his New Mexico, California, and Nevada real estate broker licenses and is an active member of the State Bar of Nevada and an inactive member of the State Bars of Arizona, California, and Montana.
Richard de Silva
Mr. de Silva currently serves as Managing Partner of Lateral Investment Management, LLC, a California-based credit and growth equity firm, which he joined in 2014. Mr. De Silva is responsible for leading the day to day investment activities and operations of the firm, which include investment origination, underwriting, asset management and fundraising. Mr. de Silva was previously a General Partner at Highland Capital Partners, a private equity firm. He joined Highland in 2003 and focused on investments in growth-stage technology companies. Mr. de Silva has also held operating roles in several companies as an entrepreneur and senior executive including as co-founder of IronPlanet, a marketplace for construction equipment. He received a B.A. from Harvard College, a Master of Philosophy in International Relations from Cambridge University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.