It turns out you can be a convicted felon and still keep your high-profile job. As reported here Tuesday, multimillionaire handbag manufacturer Frederic Bourke was found guilty late last week of participating in a $350 million bribery scheme, in which the corrupt president of Azerbaijan had planned to sell off his country’s oil reserves to American investors for personal profit.
This week, Women’s Wear Daily reports Bourke will keep his title as chairman of accessories firm Dooney and Bourke.
Dooney and Bourke is a privately held company. (The SEC won’t allow a publicly held company to keep a convicted felon awaiting jail time on its executive payroll). The company did not disclose Bourke’s salary, but said it will continue a “financial relationship” with him.
Bourke, 63, was found guilty of conspiracy to violate the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a Watergate-era law that says corporations can’t bribe officials of foreign governments. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $500,000 when he is sentenced on October 14 in U.S. District Court in downtown Manhattan.
Dooney and Bourke reports $300 million in sales and is known for its classic leather bags and the use of starlets like Hayden Panettiere in its advertising campaigns.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 16, 2009