NEW YORK (AP) – A former Morgan Stanley vice president has been charged with embezzling more than $2.5 million from the investment bank.

Richard Garaventa Jr. of Manalapan, N.J., pleaded not guilty Tuesday at his arraignment in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court on grand larceny and other charges.

Prosecutor Jeremy Glickman says the 36-year-old Garaventa was authorized to approve checks for corporate payments from the company’s in-house accounts.

Glickman says that from Sept. 5, 2001, until last Dec. 24, Garaventa stole more than $2.5 million and used it to buy expensive cars, jewelry, and take luxury vacations to Aruba and other places.

Defense lawyer Lawrence Fredella says Garaventa maintains his innocence. Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Garaventa’s bail has been set at $1 million. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

AP-ES-02-17-09 1848EST

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