Manager sentenced 1.5 years for stealing $500K from Alexandria office by creating fake employees

The Franklin P. Backus Courthouse at 520 King Street in Alexandria (staff photo by James Cullum)

A Virginia man was sentenced to a year-and-a-half in prison this week for embezzling more than a half million dollars from ABM Industries.

John Babsa, a 34-year-old former manager of the Northern Virginia branch of New York-based ABM Industries, pleaded guilty to one count of felony embezzlement at his July 27 trial. The former manager also paid $583,000 in restitution directly to ABM Industries via his attorney.

Babsa was hired as an account manager by ABM Industries in 2013, and oversaw payroll services for subcontractors, according to court documents. His work included getting reimbursed payroll and bonuses for ABM subcontractors from the company, and from 2015 to 2019, he received payroll and bonuses for five contractors he created and who never existed.

Babsa created shadow bank accounts for the fake employees, using the personal information of family members to fill in the blanks. He then deposited the checks into the accounts.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said that the crime was not a “fleeting moment of weakness” on Babsa’s part, who treated ABM Industries as “his personal bank.”

“When a valued employee of a corporation abuses his position for his own gain, more than money is lost,” Porter said. “So is the trust of the owners and other employees of the company. It is unusual for a person convicted of financial crimes to be sent to the penitentiary, and the significant sentence handed down by the Court in this case is illustrative of the gravity of this crime.”

An additional 10-and-a-half years of the Babsa’s sentence was suspended, provided that he perform supervised probation for three years, have no contact with ABM Industries and have uniform good behavior for 20 years after he is released from prison.

The case was investigated by the Alexandria Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Harsh Voruganti.

Babsa is being held in the William G. Truesdale Alexandria Adult Detention Center and will be transferred to the Virginia Department of Corrections.