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Press Release

Federal grand jury indicts three additional defendants for their roles in scheme that defrauded thousands of companies out of millions of dollars

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that a federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment charging John Engler, Alec Dierna, And Nicholas Scarantino with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Also named in the superseding indictment are three defendants previously charged in the case: Tommy Lee Coburn, Kyle Paul Edward Gibson, and Heather Dierna.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick, who is handling the case, stated that according to the superseding indictment, in January 2019, defendant Engler began mailing fictitious invoices to primarily large companies located throughout the United States for cleaner/degreaser products that the victim companies would believe they had previously ordered and received. In August 2020, Engler recruited defendant Dierna to participate in his scheme, which began the conspiracy. Defendants Coburn and Heather Dierna joined the conspiracy in January 2021, Gibson in February 2021, and in July 2021, Scarantino joined the conspiracy.

Large companies were targeted because it was less likely during the COVID-19 pandemic that account payable departments in these companies would question whether cleaner/degreaser products listed on the fraudulent invoices were ordered and received. Large companies were targeted because the relatively small amounts owed on the fraudulent invoices would be less likely to raise questions regarding the legitimacy of the invoices, and because the accounts payable departments do not order products for their companies, and would be less likely to question or be suspicious of the grossly inflated prices for the cleaner/degreaser products. Fraudulent invoices were mailed from Florida and from Rochester. Intended to look like legitimate invoices, the defendants placed statements that the documents were merely “solicitations,” and that there was no obligation to pay the amounts listed on the fraudulent invoices, in hard-to-find places on page two of the invoice. The statements were inserted so that if the defendants were ever later questioned, they could falsely claim that the intended purpose of the documents was merely to “solicit” future business from the victim companies.

As a result of the conspiracy, approximately 5,458 victim companies were tricked into believing that they had received a legitimate invoice for cleaner/degreaser products, paying approximately $8,010,543.50 to the sham companies. After receiving payment, the defendants attempted to cover up their fraud by having inexpensive cleaner/degreaser products delivered to the victim companies. Several companies in the Western District of New York were victimized. The companies are located in Henrietta, Lakewood, Brockport, Andover, Rochester, Avon, Tonawanda, and Niagara Falls.

The superseding indictment is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Miraglia, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Ketty Larco-Ward, Boston Division, and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Thomas M. Fattorusso.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.  

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Barbara Burns


Updated May 17, 2024

Financial Fraud