- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) - The Cincinnati company behind dozens of Frisch’s Big Boy restaurants alleges a former assistant treasurer stole an estimated $3.3 million in a multiyear embezzlement scheme.

Frisch’s Restaurants Inc. accuses Michael Hudson of manipulating accounting records and forging payroll documents to funnel money to himself, his relatives, a business associate and two companies he created, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Hamilton County. The lawsuit names those other parties as defendants and seeks full restitution, as well as punitive and compensatory damages.

Hudson, who worked for Frisch’s for three decades, took responsibility for the fraud and resigned Dec. 17, the company said.

A message was left Tuesday at a phone number linked to his home address. No attorney was listed for him in court records, and the number for his companies is disconnected.

Frisch’s said it has notified law enforcement agencies and launched a special investigation with help from forensic accountants. The company also is adding more checks and balances to its accounting systems to help prevent fraud, CEO Craig Maier said in a statement.

“While we were saddened to learn of these unlawful and fraudulent acts carried out against the company by a trusted and long-time employee, we took swift action as soon as we discovered the fraud,” Maier said. The statement didn’t explain when or how that occurred.

Frisch’s owns 95 Big Boy restaurants in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky; 26 more franchised restaurants are operated by others.

Frisch’s said it doesn’t anticipate the alleged fraud will affect its previously reported net income from 2012 through the first quarter of the 2015 fiscal year.

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