Stephen Friend, a former executive at the GSM trade association 3G Americas, embezzled more than $700,000 by skimming money off of the group's own accounts, according to federal prosecutors.
Friend was charged in U.S. District Court with one count of wire fraud. According to a LinkedIn profile, Friend was operations manager for 3G Americas, which is based in Bellevue, Wash., and was in charge of financial statements preparation, budgeting and payroll processing, among other functions. Prosecutors allege Friend wrote himself checks from the trade group's accounts from 2002 until last year. According to the LinkedIn profile, Friend left 3G Americas in January.
The trade group, which pushes for the adoption of GSM technologies including LTE, counts AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), T-Mobile USA, Alcatel-Lucent (NASDAQ:ALU) and Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) as some of its key members.
Chris Pearson, the president of 3G Americas, declined to comment. T-Mobile's Neville Ray, the carrier's senior vice president of engineering and operations, is currently the chairman of the group's board of governors. A T-Mobile spokeswoman declined to comment.
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