Shelton Resident Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison for Defrauding Owner of Stamford Ice Skating Rink
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MARK J. ZITO, 55, of Shelton, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to 21 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for defrauding the owner of a Stamford ice skating facility that he managed.
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 ordered ZITO to make full restitution.
On December 20, 2017, ZITO pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
ZITO, who is released on bond, was ordered to report to prison on September 25, 2018.
This matter was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, Stamford Police Department, Connecticut State Police, and Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen.