Former Rockwell manager sentenced for embezzlement

Eduardo Africano to serve 18 months for travel fraud scheme

Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation's Milwaukee headquarters.
Eduardo-Africano-Rockwell-071516-mug
Eduardo Africano

A former Rockwell Automation employee has been ordered to pay the company nearly $200,000 in restitution and serve 18 months in state prison after he pleaded guilty to defrauding the company over several years.

Eduardo R. Africano was a manager of contracts and negotiations for Latin America for the Milwaukee-based company until he was fired May 1, 2014.

Africano was charged last year with three counts of theft by false representation in excess of $10,000. He pleaded guilty to one count last year. The other charges were dismissed but read in, allowing a judge to consider them at sentencing, which was held Thursday

Africano’s position at Rockwell required him to travel extensively and at various points during his time with the company he had access to three company credit cards.

According to the criminal complaint, Africano defrauded Rockwell of money in two different ways. He set up a sham company, Omega World Inc., and billed Rockwell from it. The payments to the company were then routed directly to his own personal bank account.

He then used that money to pay for his own mortgage, groceries and to make other retail purchases.

The complaint also says he used company credit cards to purchase tickets for himself, family members and for a trip to Puerto Rico with a woman who was not his wife, a Rockwell employee or a customer.

He also traveled to Cancun, Mexico, Monterey, Calif, Phoenix, South Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Gary Ballesteros, Rockwell vice president for law, indicated in a victim impact statement the company had determined Africano had fraudulently received $313,661 from Rockwell.

“Mr. Africano’s crime created significant disruption in our ongoing business and we had to rebuild the organization he formerly lead, including rebuilding the trust and confidence of his former colleagues who feel personally betrayed,” Ballesteros wrote.

Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge Jeffrey Wagner ordered Africano to pay $193,693.75 in restitution, serve 18 months in prison, 36 months of extended supervision and perform 200 hours of community service at a nonprofit.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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