Former Fry's Executive Owes Las Vegas Casinos $20 Million

SAN JOSE, Calif.  -- A former Fry's Electronics executive accused of embezzling millions of dollars to cover gambling debts has filed for bankruptcy, listing nearly $137 million in debt.

Ausaf Umar Siddiqui owes about $20 million to Las Vegas casinos and also has outstanding debts at casinos in Connecticut and Britain, according to his July 13 bankruptcy filing in San Jose.

The amount of money he owes to the casinos in Connecticut and Britain are listed as unknown.

Siddiqui was once considered a Vegas high-roller who reportedly demanded casino employees leave golden raisins and bottles of Dom Perignon in his room.

The Internal Revenue Service charged him in 2008 with embezzling $65 million dollars by forcing vendors to pay kickbacks in order to ensure their products were stocked on Fry's shelves. A revised indictment charged him with nine felony counts of wire fraud and money laundering totaling $6 million. He has pleaded not guilty. Siddiqui also owes money to at least five Fry's vendors, according to the bankruptcy filing. He also faces $15 million in state tax liens.

"We're not surprised that he would have filed for bankruptcy," attorney Robert Rivas, who represents two of the creditors with claims against Siddiqui, told the San Jose Mercury News. "But the amount is obviously rather staggering."

Calls to Siddiqui and his bankruptcy attorney, Basil Boutris, by the Mercury News were not immediately returned. Siddiqui was set to go on trial in February, but his attorney in that case, Paul Meltzer, filed a sealed document with the court that month. A call to Meltzer by The Associated Press seeking an update on the status of the case was not immediately returned.

Jack Gillund, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said he could only say the case was ongoing.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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