News Column

NH man accused of stealing almost $1M in computer parts

August 1, 2014

By Sara Brown, The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.



Aug. 01--LAWRENCE -- A Salem, N.H., man is being accused of stealing almost a million dollars worth of computer goods from Hewlett Packard in Andover.

Richard Gomez was held on bail for $100,000 for charges of larceny over $250, false entries or omission in corporate books and money laundering.

Gomez is a second shift warehouse manager at Hewlett Packard where he was in charge of handling various computer parts and dissembling them.

According to Assistant District Attorney Philip Mallard, Gomez and two other Hewlett Packard employees allegedly stole computer hardware components and sold them on eBay and then falsified company records to cover their tracks.

"This is a highly elaborate scheme that has been going on for years," Mallard said. It is believed by investigators that $370,000 were obtained through the sales of these parts.

"The scope of this investigation is large, and implicates hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in components believe to have been stolen," the statement of probable cause stated.

In February, police were called to Hewlett Packard to take a report of a theft. The head of security had received an anonymous email saying that three employees had stolen central processing units last year and sold them on eBay. The email identified Gomez, Jose Padilla and another suspect known to police but whose identity is being withheld.

Police are currently on the lookout for Padilla and the unnamed suspect.

Upon further investigation, police discovered Gomez's email account was linked to an eBay account selling computer parts that were missing from the warehouse.

Gomez's eBay account was linked to a PayPal account where he would receive the money for parts he sold. He would then transfer that money to his bank account.

"His bank account records show numerous transactions where he took out $6,000 or $7,000 out at a time," Mallard said.

It turns out it was an ex-girlfriend of the unnamed suspect that emailed Hewlett Packard about the scheme.

"You should put some cameras up and you will catch him," the email says according to a police report. She also said Gomez was "the biggest thief."

The ex-girlfriend said she saw photos of the items they were selling with the Hewlett Packard label on them.

It is believed that Padilla would steal the item and give them to Gomez to sell on eBay. All of the earnings from eBay would go to Gomez's Paypal account where he would transfer the money to his bank and withdraw the money to give some to Padilla.

Padilla would disassemble parts sent to the warehouse and steal them but prior to logging or entering them into the database which is why Hewlett Packard didn't suspect the theft, according to police.

"There is probable cause to believe that Gomez and other co-conspirators are specifically omitting entries in the HP databases to conceal their theft of components," a police report says.

Mallard asked that bail for Gomez be set at $250,000 because he was a flight risk.

"He has ties to the Dominican Republic and recently visited the country," Mallard said.

However, Judge Lynn Rooney lessen it to hundred thousand dollars.

"If you somehow can make bail, you must hand over your passport to police," she told Gomez.

Gomez's probable cause hearing is August 26.

Follow Sara Brown on Twitter @Sara_Brown_Trib. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.

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(c)2014 The Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.)

Visit The Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.) at www.eagletribune.com

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Source: Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, MA)


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