Cheshire Woman Sentenced to Prison for Fraud and Tax Offenses Stemming from Nearly $1 Million Embezzlement Scheme
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MARK J. ZITO, 55, of Shelton, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today before Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to one count of wire fraud.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from October 1999 to August 2014, ZITO was the general manager of Stamford Twin Rinks, an ice skating facility in Stamford. The facility is owned and operated by RivCan Associates, LLC (“RivCan”). ZITO was responsible for managing and overseeing the ice skating facility’s operations, and he had a written contract with RivCan in which he would be paid commissions for securing agreements from third party vendors to place advertising at the ice skating facility. ZITO created and utilized AAZ Consulting, an unincorporated entity controlled by him, to bill RivCan for these commissions.
During his employment, ZITO submitted to RivCan numerous fraudulent invoices, primarily for services that RivCan neither requested nor authorized, or for commissions that were either fraudulent or grossly inflated. As general manager, ZITO approved the payment of these invoices and directed his subordinates to issue him checks payable to AAZ Consulting.
The total loss from ZITO’s illegal conduct is $490,468.81, which also includes funds he received by claiming payments for purportedly maintaining and updating the skating rink facility’s internet website, and through unauthorized benefits in the form of excess salary payments, excess vacation pay, and cellular telephone reimbursements.
Chief Judge Hall scheduled sentencing for March 19, 2018, at which time ZITO faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. ZITO is released on bond pending sentencing.
This matter has been investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, Stamford Police Department, Connecticut State Police, and Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen.