Norwich Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Tax Offenses Stemming from Scheme that Victimized Women Through Social Media Accounts
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that STEVEN C. GOLD, 47, of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, pleaded guilty today in Bridgeport federal court to fraud and conspiracy offenses stemming from his participation in two separate scheme that defrauded his Illinois-based company of more than $9 million.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Gold and John T. Finkle III were employed by JST, a supplier of electronic components based in Waukegan, Illinois. Finkle, of East Haven, was primarily employed in sales for JST and Gold operated the accounting and billing systems for the company. Between approximately February 2015 and December 2018, Finkle conspired with Kenneth Pedroli, and Gold, to defraud JST through a scheme involving purchases of electronic components that Pedroli made from JST for a business he operated in Islandia, New York. As part of the scheme, Finkle instructed Pedroli to place his orders and list prices at a fraction of JST’s published prices. After Pedroli’s orders were submitted to JST at the discounted prices, the products were shipped from JST to Pedroli. Finkle instructed Pedroli to pay only a portion of the invoiced price and to make the payments directly to Finkle, which Pedroli did. Finkle deposited the payments into his personal checking account, and provided a portion of the funds to Gold, who manipulated the accounting records of JST to make it appear that Pedroli had paid JST for the products he received.
JST was defrauded of $3,359,058.69 through this scheme.
During the investigation of the scheme involving Finkle and Pedroli, investigators uncovered an additional $6,060,151 that Gold had stolen from JST by accessing and manipulating JSTs accounting system. Gold used the stolen funds to pay for personal expenses that included vacations, online gambling, home improvement costs, furniture, clothes, restaurants, college tuition, and car payments. He also unlawfully transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars in JST funds to his wife’s company.
Gold pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of wire fraud. Both offenses carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall on May 20, 2020.
Gold is released on a $500,000 bond pending sentencing.
Finkle and Pedroli previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. On November 22, 2019, Finkle was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment and, on December 12, 2019, Pedroli was sentenced to three years of probation.
This investigation has been conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Miller of the District of Connecticut, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Stern of the Northern District of Illinois.