Seaworld Manager Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Stealing More Than $1 Million
Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily W. Allen (619) 546-9738
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – September 23, 2016
SAN DIEGO – Former SeaWorld San Diego manager Wilfred David Joseph Jobin-Reyes (known as “Sebastian Jobin”) was sentenced today to 30 months in custody for embezzling $818,000 from SeaWorld over more than eight years while he was employed there.
Jobin-Reyes created fake invoices for a sham company he secretly owned, called “SJ Merchandise.” He then used his management position to approve the payments on behalf of SeaWorld. He also created an alias along with a dummy email account he used to correspond with SeaWorld officials, pretending to be SJ Merchandise owner “John Caldwell.” In fact, Jobin-Reyes used his work computer to generate the fraudulent invoices, for disposable goods like “wildlife animal bookmarks,” “sea creature rings,” and “purple shiny ornaments” that were difficult to trace or verify in SeaWorld’s inventory. Over time, his invoices grew larger, so that by 2015 he was requesting fraudulent payments for amounts just under the $10,000 threshold that would have triggered further review by his bosses at SeaWorld. SeaWorld eventually discovered the fraud, but only after Jobin-Reyes had pocketed more than $800,000 in payments to his fake company.
Jobin-Reyes’ fraud did not stop with SeaWorld. He also used the sham merchandise company to cheat the IRS by claiming fake expenses on his tax returns. By pretending that his business was underwater with hefty losses, Jobin-Reyes reduced the amount of taxes he claimed he owed, and underpaid more than $200,000 for tax years 2010 through 2014. In fact, none of the claimed expenses were true, because SJ Merchandise didn’t conduct any real business at all.
In addition to the fabricated “John Caldwell,” Jobin-Reyes also stole the identity of a real person, his friend and former roommate who had once given Jobin-Reyes access to his personal information. Jobin-Reyes convinced his friend to open business banking and credit accounts, using the friend’s social security number and good credit, then used those accounts to receive and disburse the illegal proceeds from SeaWorld. He then went on to use the friend’s social security number to open several new credit cards, without the friend’s knowledge. Jobin-Reyes admitted that he left his friend with unpaid and overdue balances of at least $177,000.
Jobin used the money he stole from SeaWorld, the taxpayers, and his friend’s credit cards to fund a lavish lifestyle he could not otherwise afford. He spent the proceeds on cruises, plane tickets, hotels, restaurants, and shopping. In the year preceding his arrest, according to court documents, he traveled around the country from New Orleans to Hawaii, spending the stolen money. He even arranged to have credit cards printed for his family members, secretly racking up more debt on his friend’s credit.
“Business insiders who abuse the trust of their employers and the community should be warned that they face serious consequences and will be brought to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy. “We are dedicated to protecting our local businesses, citizens, and taxpayers from corruption and deceit.”
U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge David Murray said, “Today’s sentencing is a reminder to those who engage in financial fraud and identity theft, that the U.S. Secret Service and its law enforcement partners will actively investigate and pursue prosecution of those who violate the trust of their employers for their own personal gain.”
“As today’s sentencing of Mr. Jobin-Reyes demonstrates, defrauding your employer, your friend, and deceiving the IRS results in serious consequences, both financially and in terms of one’s freedom,” stated IRS-Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Anthony J. Orlando. “IRS-Criminal Investigation is committed to working with our law enforcement partners, as well as with members of the local community, to identify, investigate, and prosecute those who commit fraud for their own personal financial gain.”
Jobin-Reyes was arrested in Dallas, Texas in March 2016, and since arrest he has been detained in federal custody as a flight risk. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller. In addition to the prison sentence, Jobin-Reyes was ordered to pay $818,000 in restitution to SeaWorld and $177,000 to the victim of the identity theft. He also is obligated to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes and penalties to the IRS.
Wilfred David Joseph Jobin-Reyes, 16CR0811-JM Age: 48 San Diego, CA
Wire Fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343
Maximum Penalties: 20 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, $100 special assessment, restitution.