United States Attorney Anne M. Tompkins
Western District of North Carolina
JURY FINDS EX-CEO GUILTY ON WIRE FRAUD CHARGES ASHEVILLE, N.C. – On Wednesday, February 29, 2012, a federal jury in Asheville convicted Mario Clothinho Gomes, 57, currently of Atlanta, Georgia on two counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud following a three day trial, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
U.S. Attorney Tompkins is joined in making today’s announcement by Chris Briese, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division. According to documents filed in court and trial proceedings, between 2004 and 2008 Gomes served as Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of the Old Edwards Inn & Spa (“the Inn”) in Highlands, N.C. Evidence presented at trial showed that Gomes used his position to orchestrate a series of kickbacks from vendors and contractors who performed services for the Inn. According to trial testimony, during the conspiracy Gomes, along with his co-conspirators, fraudulently inflated invoices submitted to the Inn. Once invoices were paid, Gomes and his co-conspirators shared the proceeds of their scheme. Gomes also had an addition added to his home which he billed to the Inn with the assistance of his co-conspirators. The pattern of fraud detailed during trial spanned a period of over two years. Trial evidence also established that Gomes received in excess of $325,000 for his role in the scheme and conspiracy in 2007 alone. At the time of the crimes, according to evidence introduced at trial, Gomes made $190,000 annually.
Gomes is currently released on bond. At sentencing, Gomes faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 for each count of conviction. Gomes’ co-conspirators, Greg Fuselier, 59, currently of Metarie, Louisiana and George Mathis, 60, currently of Franklin, N.C. pled guilty to mail fraud for their respective roles in the fraud. Fuselier and Mathis, who each testified against Gomes at trial, also face a maximum 20 year prison sentence and $250,000 fines.
The investigation for the case was handled by the FBI. The prosecution of the case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey Ellis of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in Asheville.