Maritime company claims manager embezzled $100K

Kelly Holleran Apr. 2, 2012, 11:00am


A company claims its former manager embezzled money in an elaborate scheme in which he siphoned more than $100,000.

Biehl and Co. and Sarost S.A. filed a lawsuit March 8 in Jefferson County District Court against Marvin G. Forson and Vessel Maritime Services.

Biehl alleges it acts as an intermediary between ship operators, such as Sarost, and third parties that provide the operators with goods and services. Biehl's job is to hire the service providers for the ship operators and invoice its customers for the services it is able to provide, according to the complaint.

Biehl recently learned that its manager, Forson, would hire VMS to service its ship operators. Following protocol, Forson would invoice Biehl for the services.

The suit alleges, however, that he would charge extra for the services and then pass those charges along to ship operators, such as Sarost.

Forson also authorized Biehl to pay himself for personal expenses without the company's permission, according to the complaint.

Altogether, Forson's actions have cost Biehl and Sarost more than $100,000, the lawsuit claims.

Biehl alleges unjust enrichment, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud by the defendants.

"Forson continually misrepresented and/or failed to inform Biehl or its customers, including Sarost, the manner in which he was performing his duties as a port manager for Biehl by not disclosing the mark-ups wrongfully charged by VMS as well by misappropriating Biehl's and Sarost's funds," the suit states.

In their complaint, Biehl and Sarost seek a judgment in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, exemplary damages, attorneys' fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

James Patrick Cooney and Richard Anthony Branca of Royston, Rayzor, Vickery and Williams in Houston will be representing them.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. A192-149

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