W. Jeff Taylor, who previously president of Starkey parts supplier Sonion U.S., was also found guilty. The jury acquitted two other defendants in the case: Larry Hagen, an associate of Ruzicka and Taylor, and Larry Miller, Starkey’s former head of human resources.
“Maybe this will go the way it’s supposed to,” Ruzicka said before the verdict reading, according to the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. Instead, the newspaper reports that Ruzicka stoically took the news that he was guilty of crimes including filing a false tax return for 2014, stealing a company Jaguar, and wire and mail fraud.
Federal prosecutors had previously accused the executives of conspiring for nearly 10 years — between 2006 and 2015 — to embezzle money and business opportunities away from Starkey and Sonion. In their scam, according to prosecutors, they employed tactics including a complicated web of sham companies and dummy entities. They surreptitiously awarding themselves restricted stock in Starkey’s retail affiliate, and they allegedly embezzled money through payouts from Starkey to themselves and others.
The activities reportedly took place behind the back of Starkey founder and CEO William F. Austin, who called in the FBI after he discovered that something was wrong.