Criminal Justice

Former Shoplet general counsel pleads guilty to embezzling nearly $6M through PayPal transfers

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Former Shoplet general counsel and senior vice president Leslie Scharf has pleaded guilty to grand larceny for embezzling nearly $6 million from the office supply company.

Scharf, 52, is accused of funneling the money from Shoplet’s PayPal accounts into his personal PayPal accounts. He then moved the money into his own accounts to fund a luxury lifestyle, according to a Sept. 3 press release by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Scharf had worked as exclusive manager of the corporate PayPal accounts during his time as general counsel at the company. He began work at Shoplet beginning in 2006 and implemented the PayPal system as an alternate payment method in 2007, according to a lawsuit filed against Scharf last year. The plea agreement covered actions between May 2013 and June 2019, according to the press release.

Scharf spent the money on such things as travel, high-end designer shopping and purchases of a BMW and a Porsche, according to the press release.

The New York Law Journal, Law360 and Newsday had coverage.

Shoplet sued Scharf in July 2019 for alleged embezzlement, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment, Law360 reported at the time. The suit said Scharf sent money from Shoplet’s PayPay account to a PayPal account associated with the email [email protected] Other payments were sent to vendors not associated with Shoplet.

The amounts transferred were each less than $1,000 to avoid detection, but the total stolen was at least $6.8 million, the suit had alleged. Shoplet received notifications of the transfers through Scharf’s corporate email account, but Scharf deleted them, the suit said.

Judge Andrew Borrok granted a default judgment to the company in November 2019. Scharf stipulated in January that the amount of damages owed was $6.8 million, with annual interest of 9%, according to a February order.

Scharf is scheduled to be sentenced in the criminal case Oct. 8 to serve three to nine years in prison and pay restitution of up to $1.5 million. The restitution would be paid in funds from the proceeds of the sale of his home, prosecutors said.

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