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2 men charged with ripping off Lake Worth company for $100,000

LAKE WORTH — Two executives of a small Lake Worth-based fuel company are each charged with systematically ripping it off for more than $100,000 and hijacking its identity.

Company president Dennis Paul told authorities he had to get a personal loan to get out of the hole in which he says the two men left him.

Jack Sandoval, 67, was arrested January 14 and James Ernest Brady, 50, on Wednesday .

The two Boynton Beach-area men are each charged with grand theft of $300 to $5,000 and theft of trade secrets; each is out on $6,000 bond.

Several phone listings for Brady and Sandoval were disconnected and they could not be located for comment.

According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office report, the two men worked for EcoFuel Worldwide. Paul said it makes fuel used to warm food.

Dennis Paul and his wife Debra, both owners of EcoFuel, say they hired Brady as president in February 2008 and soon after found he was making personal charges on the company's American Express card.

Paul said he told Brady to stop and to repay the firm, but Brady did neither. In fact, he said, Brady asked that the card's credit limit be raised, saying he needed money for an out-of-state deal, but instead made more personal use of it.

Paul said he canceled the card, but then learned Brady was using Paul's personal card without his permission, having obtained the number once to buy an airline ticket.

Paul said he tried to dispute the charges but American Express said he was liable for the $47,000.

In June 2008, Paul said, Brady asked him to hire Sandoval as a management consultant. Soon after, he said, Sandoval and Debra Paul opened a joint checking account.

Dennis Paul alleges that, a month later, as Brady's credit card problems were coming to a head, Dennis Paul told both Brady and Sandoval to write no travel expense or payroll checks. But Sandoval began writing checks to himself and Brady.

Around that time, Paul said, Brady instructed a customer in England to wire a $16,670 payment directly to the account Sandoval had set up, and Sandoval began writing checks against it.

Paul said he finally fired Brady on Aug 14.

He said when he confronted Sandoval about using the money from the British customer, Sandoval wrote a check from the joint account to reimburse Paul, but it later bounced.

Paul told detectives that three days after he fired Brady, the former president offered to buy Paul's companies for $2.28 million.

Although the deal never went through, Paul said, Brady began using the EcoFuel name, phone numbers, addresses, web page, and all other company intellectual property and trade secrets, and has refused to return them.

"My family and I have suffered both financially and emotionally as a result of their actions," Paul said of Brady and Sandoval in a statement to The Palm Beach Post. "We hope that now they are finally being held accountable that we can begin to start the healing process."

Paul told the Post that his total loss is "well in excess of $100,000", but said he couldn't elaborate because of the ongoing criminal investigation.

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