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Press Release

Medina man indicted for stealing $275,000 from employer, using money to pay for vehicles, country club membership

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

A Medina man was named in a 22-count indictment, charged with stealing approximately $275,000 from his employer and using the money to pay for a country club membership, vehicles and purchases at Victoria’s Secret and GNC, law enforcement officials said.

Brian K. Stepp, 50, was charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, making false statements and other charges. Rachel M. Penn, 41, of Wellington, was also indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud.

“These defendants used this company’s coffers like their own personal bank, stealing from their employer to provide for a lavish lifestyle,” U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon said.

“These two conspired in a variety of fraudulent financial schemes to steal money for car and country club membership purchases and exorbitant retail purchases,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office. “The FBI will continue to root out financial fraudsters and hold them accountable for their criminal actions.”

Stepp and Penn worked together at Variety Contractors, Inc., a company based in Medina County that provided general contracting services for large public and commercial retail construction projects in Ohio and other states.

Stepp joined the company as vice president and eventually was promoted to acting president, although the company owner retained ultimate decision-making authority. Penn worked in the company’s accounting department. Her duties included reviewing expense claims submitted by employees and issuing reimbursement checks, according to the indictment.

Stepp and Penn conspired together between February 2014 and May 2015 to defraud Variety Contractors.

Stepp incorporated S&S Kelsey LN, a shell company that did not engage in any actual business. He submitted a variety of fake invoices from S&S and other vendors to Variety Contractors of goods and services that were not provided. Stepp and Penn caused Variety Contractors to make payments on those fraudulent invoices, according to the indictment.

For example, in September 2014, a check request for $31,500 was made for payment to G.C.I. for “Deposit for Exterior Metal Panels”. Three days later, Penn issued a check in the same amount made payable to Ganley, which Penn knew that Stepp used to partially pay for a 2015 Chevy Silverado pickup truck that he purchased in his wife’s name, according to the indictment.

Stepp also fraudulently used a company credit card to pay for personal expenses, such as membership and related fees at Weymouth Country Club, payments made to purchase vehicles to himself and his family, local hotel charges, legal fees, and charges at stores including Victoria’s Secret and GNC, according to the indictment.

The loss to Variety Contractors was approximately $275,000, according to the indictment.

Stepp also made numerous false statements in attempting to get several loans, according to the indictment.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Lutzko following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after reviewing factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

An indictment is not evidence of guilt.  Defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated September 14, 2016

Financial Fraud