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Ex-CEO Accused of Embezzling $15 Million and Spending It on Vacations, Family Weddings

A former North Carolina CEO is under fire after allegedly embezzling upwards of $15 million from her company.


A former North Carolina CEO is under fire after allegedly embezzling upwards of $15 million from her company.

Michał Chodyra | Getty Images

Donna Osowitt Steele is being accused of stealing money from her family’s business to fund an opulent lifestyle filled with vacations, jewelry, events and more, per documents filed by U.S. Attorney Dena King.

Court documents show that Steele reportedly spent over $1 million on travel, $200,000 on designer purchases and flowers as well as $500,000 on jewelry and “pricey hotel” stays in lavish locations, including the famous Plaza Hotel in New York and the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua, Hawaii, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Steele served as CEO of Tigra USA, Inc., which manufactures equipment within the metalwork and woodworking industry.

The current president of the company, Bernd Motzer, said that the company is “gratified that justice is being done.”

Steele allegedly opened bank accounts and cards under the name of her company, while also forcing her employees to give her passwords to “all company systems” and hyper-monitoring them, per documents filed.

When credit companies flagged suspicious purchases that she’d made, she would approve them using her CEO position.

Steele is being charged with wire fraud embezzlement, amid other charges, and faces up to $16.9 million in forfeiture.

Emily Rella

Written By

Entrepreneur Staff

Emily Rella is a news writer at Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media, covering entertainment, pop culture, lifestyle, entrepreneuership and business. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native.