The vice president of Glock Inc. confessed nine years ago to the company's founder that he and another top lieutenant had been stealing millions from the gun maker, later telling investigators there was so much cash flying around that it seemed like "Monopoly money."
The executive, Peter Manown, was sentenced to 10 years probation after pleading guilty to theft and is now set to be the government's star witness against the man he says was his accomplice, one-time Glock attorney Paul Jannuzzo.
Jannuzzo is set to go to trial today on theft and racketeering charges.
The trial threatens to expose new details about the dirty underbelly of the privately-held international firearms manufacturer, which has its U.S. headquarters in the west Atlanta suburb of Smyrna. In a 2007 interview with investigators, Manown detailed internal tension among executives and claimed he was able to exploit loose financial practices at the gun maker, which makes millions selling firearms to law enforcement agencies across the globe.
Jannuzzo has pleaded not guilty. His attorney Robert Citronberg didn't return calls seeking comment.
A former New Jersey prosecutor, Jannuzzo was hired by Glock in 1991 to be the company's general counsel.
Manown, an attorney from Dunwoody, Ga., said the two began working together to plunder the company.
"It was so easy," he told investigators. "There was so much money flying around in this company, in this industry, it was like Monopoly money."
By early 2003, though, the relationship between Jannuzzo and company founder Gaston Glock had grown tense.
Jannuzzo soon quit, and in the months that followed, Manown said his guilt about the money he took began to eat at his conscience, and he came forward.
Manown's attorney, Bruce Morris, said his client confessed to Glock officials in October 2003 on his own accord before law enforcement got involved. He said Manown turned over all his records and more than $1 million to repay part of what he owed.
Neither Manown nor Jannuzzo was charged with any crime until Glock turned over the details of its internal investigation to Cobb County authorities in 2007. Manown pleaded guilty to three counts of theft and agreed to be interviewed by a Cobb County prosecutor and a Glock official.
About a year later, Cobb County prosecutors charged Jannuzzo with stealing money by forging Gaston Glock's signature, fabricating loan documents and pilfering corporate funds. They say he funneled the money through an elaborate network of foreign bank accounts and company holdings. All told, the two are accused of stealing more than $5 million from the company and its holdings, according to court records.