An adviser to Broadcom Corp. ex-Chief Executive Henry Nicholas, on Thursday appeared in federal court in California, where he faces charges that he failed to report currency withdrawals from an Orange County bank.
Craig Gunther, who wore a powder blue dress shirt and navy slacks, had his wrists shackled to a chain around his waist during his first federal court appearance in Santa Ana, California.
Gunther acted as a financial advisor and attorney to Nicholas and his family holding company, NS Holdings, during the period described in the complaint, January 1, 2006 through February 28, 2007.
Attorney Robert Corbin, who represents Gunther, said his client is no longer working with Broadcom, an Irvine, California-based chipmaker, or NS Holdings. He described the complaint as a rush to judgment.
Federal officials are investigating Broadcom's historical stock options granting practices, and The Wall Street Journal has reported they are looking into allegations that Nicholas used hard drugs and hired prostitutes.
During his 5-minute hearing, Gunther told a judge he understood the charges against him. He was released on $5,000 bail with restrictions that include surrendering his passport, abstaining from drugs and undergoing drug testing and agreeing not to traveling outside the continental United States.
Gunther, who had surrendered to U.S. Marshals earlier in the day, waived his right to a preliminary hearing where a prosecutor would have outlined evidence used to build the case against him. His next court date is scheduled for September 10.
Corbin said Gunther worked extremely hard and performed his duties at NS Holdings honestly.
Mr. Gunther is not guilty of these charges. He respects our system of justice and will defend himself in court, Corbin said.
According to a criminal complaint filed on Wednesday, Gunther withdrew more than $500,000 in cash from Northern Trust Bank of California in amounts of $10,000 or less to evade currency reporting requirements.
Gunther signed a series of checks on an account controlled by him and a senior Broadcom executive referred to in the complaint as Executive A and Executive A's wife.
Elizabeth Kuhns, a personal assistant to Executive A, said in an affidavit filed with the complaint that she cashed the checks signed by Gunther, and returned the money to Executive A.
Kuhns said Executive A kept at least $10,000 in cash in a locked desk in his office or in a black bag that he carried with him. At least one time, Executive A instructed Kuhns to deliver an envelope containing thousands of dollars in cash to a woman who then gave Kuhns an envelope for Executive A.
U.S. Attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek would not comment on the identity of Executive A.
(Additional reporting by Tori Richards and Lisa Baertlein)