Get All Access for $5/mo

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.

By Emily Rella Edited by Jessica Thomas

Michał Chodyra | Getty Images

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

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

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

This 26-Year-Old's Side Hustle That 'Anybody Can Do' Grew to Earn $170,000 a Month. Here's What Happened When I Tested It.

Stephen Alvarez was working at a dental supply company and following his passion for cars on the side — then an Instagram ad changed everything.

Franchise

How These 5 Beloved Restaurant Chains Are Making a Comeback After Nearly Disappearing. Is Your Former Favorite on the List?

Through innovative business models, strategic partnerships and rebranding efforts, these iconic chains are poised to reclaim their positions in the market.

Franchise

McDonald's Is Turning Jobs into Degrees By Helping Employees Earn College Credits Just for Working

The fast-food chain is working with community colleges to translate job skills into academic credits.

Fundraising

Watch the Pitch That Landed $10K in 60 Seconds

On this family-focused episode of 'Elevator Pitch,' see which entrepreneur scores an unexpected payday.

Business News

Mark Zuckerberg Says an Upcoming Meta Product Left Testers 'Giddy'

Meta is almost ready to show this gadget to the public.