By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Toys "R" Us employee pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn, New York federal court on Thursday to a criminal fraud charge, after being accused of stealing nearly $2 million meant to help truck drivers cover their costs and putting it on a debit card.
Daniel Chon, a former Toys "R" Us director of inbound and outbound transportation, admitted to one count of access device fraud at a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Levy.
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Chon, 28, is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 27, and could receive 37 to 46 months in prison under recommended federal guidelines.
"He has accepted responsibility from the moment he was arrested, and has begun making restitution to his former employer," Jeffrey Lichtman, a lawyer for Chon, said in an interview.
Lichtman also said his client is being treated for alcoholism, which "certainly contributed to his conduct and the lack of judgment that occurred here."
Prosecutors accused Chon of repeatedly exploiting a Toys "R" Us program, known as Fleet Card, that the privately-held company set up to defray lodging, food and repair costs for drivers who ship merchandise.
According to court papers, Chon loaded $1.92 million of "eCash" onto a debit card by logging into the system without permission 117 times between May 2013 and March 2016, and later withdrew most of it from automated teller machines.
Video surveillance showed Chon using a Fleet Card at ATMs in New Jersey, and a Fleet Card was used in 2015 in London, Madrid and Berlin on dates corresponding to Chon's travel there, prosecutors have said.
The case is U.S. v. Chon, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 16-cr-00375.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York)