The former controller for financial newsletter Grant’s Interest Rate Observer has pled guilty to embezzling from the company.
Eric Ian Whitehead, 53, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud for “a years-long scheme to embezzle approximately $1.3 million from a financial publishing company,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said in an announcement Tuesday. Grant’s controller Whitehead joined the company in 2007 after ten years working as an accountant at Marks Paneth, according to his LinkedIn profile, which was viewed by Institutional Investor before it became unavailable.
“It seems that, with this revelation, my profitable publishing business is even more profitable than I thought,” said James Grant, founder and editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer via email. “I hope for peace and better days for the employee I trusted too much.”
Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, launched by financial journalist Grant in 1983, has long had a cult following on Wall Street. The newsletter, which still comes in hard copy 24 times a year, was memorialized in The Big Short and counts a number of hedge fund giants among its subscribers.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said that Whitehead’s scheme to “consistently” embezzle the company’s funds began in 2015 and continued into 2020. He used company assets to pay for his personal credit card expenses would overpay those credit cards to receive cash balance refunds, according to the announcement.
Whitehead also used company assets to write checks for his personal bank account and to purchase precious metals to sell for his own profit, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Whitehead did not return a message sent via LinkedIn seeking comment.
After pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud, he is awaiting his sentencing hearing, which will take place April 9, according to the announcement. The maximum sentence is 20 years in prison.
Whitehead “exploited his position of trust as comptroller of a publishing company,” Acting Attorney General Audrey Strauss said in the announcement.