David Rosenfeld

Former Hennessey CFO Sentenced to 5 Years

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James Cram pled guilty to embezzling $1.14 million from his former employer. Photo courtesy of the Redondo Police Department

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge sentenced the former chief financial officer of Hennessey’s Taverns on Monday to five years in prison for embezzling more than $1 million from the popular restaurant chain.

Judge Thomas Sokolov sentenced Rancho Palos Verdes resident James Cram, 54, to serve the remainder of his prison term in the Los Angeles County Jail. Cram, who had been in custody since October of last year, worked at Hennessey’s from 2006 to 2010.

Paul Hennessey, who owns the chain of 10 southern California establishments including three in the South Bay, said he was pleased with the sentencing, but would still pursue financial restitution to recover lost assets.

“We’ll probably be trying to seize his house and any other properties he has through the courts,” said Hennessey who attended the sentencing hearing on Monday. “The problem is the government will probably get him before I do. He’s got another shoe to drop yet.”

Along with the $1 million he reportedly stole from the restaurant, Cram owes the federal government $200,000 in unpaid taxes. A restitution hearing was scheduled for Dec 20 at the Torrance Superior Courthouse.

Hennessey said he will be glad to put the episode behind him.

“You put all the controls in the world in, but the way he was doing it — by slowly drawing down a line of credit I had — made it never appear in the business books,” Hennessey said.

Cram knew that bi-annual audits only looked at the business account and not Hennessey’s personal credit line.

“He figured out a clever way, or not so clever because it had a very big paper trail, and sooner or later he knew he was going to get caught,” Hennessey said. “I can’t imagine what was going on in his head.”

For the complete story of how Cram bilked the popular restaurant chain click here.


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