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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Monday, October 23, 2017

Florida Man Pleads Guilty To Mail Fraud And Tax Evasion

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Michael Kornaker, 46, of Jacksonville, NY, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross, who is handling the case, stated that between June 2014 and April 9, 2016, the defendant devised a scheme to defraud companies which were holding unclaimed funds. The funds were advertised on a website belonging to the California State Controller’s Office.

Specifically, Kornaker sent documentation of entitlement to unclaimed funds to the victim companies using false and fraudulent identities, including the name “Vinnie Sciarrino,” and entities, including “Insurance Marketing Resources.” Any funds received from victim companies were deposited into bank accounts maintained by the defendant.

In addition, between June 11, 2015, and November 9, 2015, Kornaker made a claim for unclaimed property held by Jackson National Life Insurance Company using the names Vinnie Sciarrino and Insurance Marketing Resources.

As part of the scheme to defraud, the defendant identified at least 113 companies and submitted fraudulent documentation to change the entity’s mailing address to addresses under his control in the Western District of New York. As a result, the defendant was paid in excess of $415,000 in funds to which he was not entitled.

In addition, for the tax years 2014 and 2015, Kornaker filed forms which substantially understated the amount of income he received by $416,786.73. The defendant claimed that his taxable income for those years was the sum of $43,554, and that the amount of tax due was $8,532. Kornaker’s actual taxable income was $509,986 and the amount of tax due was $165,065.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Service Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector-in-Charge Shelly Binkowski; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James D. Robnett; and the New York State Department of Financial Services, Criminal Investigations Unit, under the direction of Superintendent Maria T. Vullo.

Sentencing is scheduled for February 7, 2018, at 12:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara.

Updated October 23, 2017