Avon Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges Stemming from Hartford Soccer Stadium Project
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MITCHELL ANDERSON, 52, of Avon, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to fraud and money laundering charges stemming from a scheme involving the redevelopment of Dillon Stadium in Hartford and a plan to bring a professional soccer team to the city.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in September 2014, the City of Hartford entered into a professional services agreement with ANDERSON’s company, Premier Sports Management Group (“PSMG”), to secure a professional soccer team and to develop a new, 9,000 seat facility at the Dillon Stadium location. Under the terms of the agreement, PSMG was entitled to receive $775,000 for serving as the project manager for the $12 million plan. In February 2015, ANDERSON joined with a business partner who agreed to be the majority owner of the professional soccer team. ANDERSON and his business partner represented to various city officials that PSMG and the partner’s consulting company had merged for purposes of completing the Dillon Stadium project and securing the professional soccer team.
Beginning in approximately March 2015, ANDERSON submitted invoices to the city for reimbursement to PSMG sub-contractors working on the project. However, rather than pay the total amounts owed to PSMG’s subcontractors, ANDERSON and his business partner directed more than $1 million that PSMG received from the city to themselves, their businesses and other entities not related to the Dillon Stadium project. ANDERSON and his business partner also secured invoices from subcontractors who had not performed work for the project, which ANDERSON caused to be submitted to the city as if the work had been performed. ANDERSON then illegally used the proceeds of the fraud in a series of bank transactions to pay individuals and companies for expenses unrelated to the Dillon Stadium project.
ANDERSON pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of conducting illegal monetary transactions, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years. Judge Underhill scheduled sentencing for May 1, 2017.
ANDERSON has agreed to make restitution in the total amount of $1,134,595.37 to the City of Hartford and two subcontractors of the Dillon Stadium project.
ANDERSON was arrested on June 23, 2016, as is released on a $100,000 bond.
This matter is being investigated by the Connecticut Public Corruption Task Force, notably the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. The Task Force also includes members from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development- Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The Hartford Police Department is also assisting the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Karwan and Douglas Morabito.
Citizens are encouraged to report corruption to the Connecticut Public Corruption Task Force by calling 203-238-0505.