States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|March 24, 2010||
Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force: STRATFORD MAN SENTENCED TO EIGHT YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR ROLE IN $2.5 MILLION EMBEZZLEMENT SCHEME
Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that STEVEN DeCECCO, 52, of Stratford, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Janet C. Hall in Bridgeport to 96 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his participation in an embezzlement scheme that defrauded his employer of more than $2.5 million. On November 5, 2009, DeCECCO pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, three counts of wire fraud, and two counts of interstate transportation of stolen property.
According to court documents and statements made in court, DeCECCO and Jaime Hoff were involved in a scheme to embezzle from their former employer, Expand International of America. As part of the scheme, DeCECCO and Hoff, who were employed at the company’s location in Stratford, directed hundreds of unauthorized wire transfers from their employer’s bank accounts to their own accounts and to third parties for DeCECCO’s benefit. DeCECCO was the Corporate Controller and was in charge of the company’s accounting functions, and Hoff was responsible for performing accounts payable functions and bank reconciliations. The two defendants used these positions to disguise their scheme over a period of approximately two years.
Through this scheme, DeCECCO and Hoff collectively embezzled approximately $2,516,288 from their employer, with approximately $2,122,549 sent either directly to DeCECCO or to third parties for his benefit. DeCECCO used a large portion of the stolen money to fund his purchase of multiple high-end classic cars, car parts and related expenses. For example, on May 20, 2008, DeCECCO transferred $52,000 in company funds to purchase a 1965 Chevy Corvette and, on October 21, 2008, he transferred $55,000 to fund his purchase of a 1959 Corvette.
During the investigation, the U.S. Secret Service seized a 1962 Chevy Corvette, a 1991 Chevy Corvette, a 2008 Chevy Corvette, a 1970 Dodge Challenger, a 1967 Chevy Corvette, and a 2009 Harley Davidson motorcycle. The Government also has frozen approximately $240,000 contained in DeCECCO’s bank accounts.
Today, Judge Hall ordered DeCECCO to pay restitution in the amount of $2,556,288, which includes costs incurred by the victim in connection with its assistance in the investigation and prosecution of this matter.
The Court also found that DeCECCO committed obstruction of justice on multiple occasions during the course of the investigation and prosecution.
DeCECCO has been detained since March 16, 2010, when his bond was revoked.
On October 8, Hoff pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud stemming from her role in the scheme. She awaits sentencing.
This matter has been investigated by the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force, notably the United States Secret Service, and the Stratford Police Department. In addition to the United States Secret Service, the Task Force includes members from the United States Postal Inspection Service; the United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security; the Connecticut State Police; and the Greenwich, Hartford, Manchester, New Haven and Shelton Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Murphy.
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