Skip to main content
Press Release

Rhode Island Sears Franchisee Pleads Guilty To Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Joseph Kilty, 53, of Wakefield, R.I., a former authorized dealer and franchisee of a Sears Hometown and Outlet, Inc. store in Middletown, R.I., pleaded guilty in federal court in Providence today to defrauding Sears of more than $154,000, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Shelly A. Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division; and Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office of the FBI.

Appearing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith, Kilty admitted to the court that between January 2012 through June 2013, he failed to deposit $154,120 in cash receipts into a bank account he was required by Sears to establish and into which all store receipts were to have been deposited. Kilty admitted that he deposited the receipts in question into other personal bank accounts which he controlled.

Kilty admitted to the court that as part of the scheme he created false documents to make it appear that the deposits had been made, including 47 fraudulent deposit slips and several fake bank reconciliation forms.

Additionally, Kilty admitted to the court that he created two counterfeit bank checks in the amounts of $99,000 and $28,319.75 made payable to Sears Hometown and Outlet, Inc., and that he provided the checks to a Sears district manager. The fraudulent checks were eventually mailed to the Sears Hometown and Outlet office in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

Kilty pleaded guilty today to one count of mail fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith on September 18, 2014.

Mail fraud is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 20 years in federal prison; a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or the gross loss resulting from the offense, whichever is greater; and a term of supervised release of up to 5years.

The matter was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FBI.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee H. Vilker.


To assist the media and the public, a glossary of federal judicial terms and procedures is available at

Contact: 401-709-5357

Updated June 22, 2015