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MillerCoors says probe shows ex-employees embezzled millions

Lisa Baertlein
A sign is seen outside the MillerCoors corporate offices in Golden, Colorado February 12, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

By Lisa Baertlein

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - MillerCoors, a U.S. joint venture between SABMiller Plc and Molson Coors Co, on Thursday said it had uncovered a multi-year scheme in which two former employees allegedly embezzled several million dollars.

"Based on an extensive internal and external investigation, MillerCoors believes former employee David Colletti embezzled several million dollars from the company over several years and that former employee Paul Edwards was involved to a lesser extent in the scheme," company spokesman Jonathan Stern said in a statement.

Stern said MillerCoors referred Colletti and Edwards to federal authorities for criminal prosecution and that the company is seeking to recover the funds from a combination of insurance and restitution in the criminal process.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago said no charges had been filed against Colletti and Edwards. He declined to confirm or deny that the two men were under investigation.

Reuters was unable to contact Colletti and Edwards for comment.

MillerCoors declined further comment and would not provide contact information for the two men.

Beer Business Daily, which was first to report MillerCoors' findings, said the alleged embezzlement involved falsifying invoices with certain vendors.

Beer Business Daily cited a memo from the CEO of MillerCoors as the source for its story. Reuters was unable to obtain the memo.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; editing by Andrew Hay)