Property Manager Who Defrauded Owner Of Bridgeport Apartment Complex Is Sentenced
The United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut announced that ANTHONY TESTO, 67, of Monroe, and his company, ACT Builders, Inc., were sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford for defrauding a Bridgeport-based residential property owner. TESTO was ordered to serve five months in community confinement (halfway house), followed by three years of supervised release, the first six months of which must be served in home confinement. He was also ordered to a pay a fine of $18,000. ACT Builders was sentenced to five years of probation.
According to court documents and statements made in court, TESTO and ACT Builders were contracted to serve as a property manager for an entity in Bridgeport that owned an apartment complex and several single and multi-family residences. TESTO’s role as property manager included filling vacant rental units, setting rental amounts, collecting security deposits, collecting rent from tenants and depositing rental payments in the property owner’s bank account. TESTO also was required to submit to the property owner a monthly “rent roll,” which was a spreadsheet showing the occupancy of the rental units, the rental amounts due and the rental payments collected from tenants. Thomas Ragonese provided accounting services to TESTO and ACT Builders. At TESTO’s instruction, Ragonese prepared the rent rolls.
From approximately January 2007 to August 2010, TESTO and ACT Builders, with Ragonese’s assistance, defrauded the property owner by submitting fraudulent rent rolls that misrepresented that certain rental units were vacant with no rent due when, in fact, the apartments were occupied and rent had been collected. The rent rolls also misrepresented that the rent due and collected for certain rental units was lower than the amount that was actually collected. TESTO deposited rental income that was due to the property owner into both his personal bank account and the ACT Builders bank account.
Through this scheme, and also by submitting fraudulent subcontractor invoices to the property owner, TESTO defrauded the property owner of at least $275,000.
In addition, for the 2007 through 2010 tax years, Ragonese prepared Testo’s federal tax returns, which failed to report the rental income that TESTO kept for his own use and benefit. This resulted in a tax loss to the Internal Revenue Service of $71,795.
As part of his sentence, TESTO was ordered to pay $275,000 in restitution to the victim, and $71,795, plus applicable penalties and interest, to the IRS.
On June 20, 2014, TESTO pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of assisting in the preparation and filing of a false tax return, and ACT Builders pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
On July 18, 2014, Ragonese, of Trumbull, pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and assisting the preparation and filing of a false tax return. He awaits sentencing.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Felice Duffy.
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