Rhode Island Man Sentenced To 18 Months Of Imprisonment For Automobile Warranty Fraud Scheme
SCRANTON - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Jason Pannone, age 40, of North Providence, Rhode Island was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment and two years of supervised release by United States District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion for conspiring to commit wire and mail fraud, and for aggravated identity theft offenses.
According to Acting United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, Pannone was convicted of processing false invoices for nonexistent automobile repairs through his Providence, Rhode Island automobile detailing shop, Platinum Auto Services, and through Ultra Auto Services, where he was employed. The invoices were sent to and paid by an automobile warranty company in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Pannone pleaded guilty on March 23, 2021, to causing between $150,000 and $250,000 of fraudulent loss to the Wilkes-Barre based automobile warranty company. Judge Mannion ordered Pannone to pay restitution of $128,667.16 to the victim of his crime.
Three of Pannone’s coconspirators were convicted in this investigation:
- Brian Larry, age 59, of Clark’s Summit, Pennsylvania, was convicted on May 10, 2021, following a jury trial, of mail fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and false statement offenses. Larry was convicted of defrauding his former employer, the Wilkes-Barre based automobile warranty company, from approximately January 2014 through October 2018. Larry also was convicted of stealing the personal information of warranty policy owners and providing it to his coconspirators, who created false invoices for nonexistent automobile repair work supposedly performed at various garages in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, including by forging the policy owners’ signatures on the paperwork. The false and forged documentation was then sent to the warranty company, where Larry approved payment of the invoices. During the course of the scheme, Larry and his coconspirators obtained approximately $400,000 paid out by the warranty company pursuant to the false invoices, including thousands of dollars in repair work for Larry’s personal vehicle that he charged to other policy owners. The evidence at trial showed that Larry then falsified internal warranty company documents in an attempt to conceal his crimes.
- Matthew Gershkoff, age 64, of North Providence, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud, and to aggravated identity theft, and is awaiting sentencing. Gershkoff was convicted of preparing false invoices for nonexistent automobile repairs at multiple automobile repair shops located in Rhode Island and in Massachusetts, and for forging policy owners’ signatures. Gershkoff pleaded guilty on May 18, 2020, to causing between $250,000 and $550,000 of fraudulent loss to the Wilkes-Barre based automobile warranty company, and has agreed to repay restitution.
- Herman Cabral, age 62, of Cranston, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud, and was sentenced to 10 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. Cabral was convicted of processing false invoices for nonexistent automobile repairs through his Providence, Rhode Island automobile detailing shop, A Plus Auto Services. Cabral pleaded guilty on July 23, 2019, to causing between $150,000 and $250,000 of fraudulent loss to the Wilkes-Barre based automobile warranty company, and was ordered to pay over $211,644.03 in restitution.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Phillip J. Caraballo and Jeffrey St John prosecuted the case.
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