Middletown Man Charged with Stealing More Than $900K from Employer, Family Member
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that STEPHEN T. GIONFRIDDO, 67, of Middletown, was arrested today on a criminal complaint charging him with wire fraud stemming from an alleged scheme in which he embezzled approximately $490,000 from his former employer, and then embezzled approximately $457,000 from a family member to pay back his former employer.
GIONFRIDDO appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah A. L. Merriam in New Haven and was released on a $200,000 bond.
According to the criminal complaint, GIONFRIDDO was convicted of federal wire fraud and mail fraud offenses in 2006 for embezzling more than $633,000 from clients while acting as their attorney.
The complaint alleges that, from approximately December 2013 through September 2017, while GIONFRIDDO was working as a paralegal at a law firm in greater Hartford, he made bogus requisitions for approximately $377,895.67 in checks purportedly to pay client expenses. GIONFRIDDO converted these funds for his personal use. GIONFRIDDO also forged the signature of one of the firm’s partners in order to fraudulently convert a certificate of deposit (CD) of approximately $112,748.21 to a check, which funds he also converted for his personal use. In total, GIONFRIDDO stole $490,648.88 from the law firm.
The complaint further alleges that principals at the law firm confronted GIONFRIDDO about the theft of funds in late September 2017, and GIONFRIDDO promised to repay the firm. GIONFRIDDO then stole from a family member by taking approximately $45,000 from a checking account and approximately $217,000 from an online trading account. He also caused a hardship withdrawal of $195,000 to be made against his family member’s defined contribution plan by impersonating his family member on recorded telephone calls with the plan’s provider and submitting bogus paperwork.
If convicted of wire fraud, GIONFRIDDO faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan L. Wines.