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Ex-Biz Manager Faces Charge in $1.1M Embezzlement

3-year investigation leads to arrest for 'diverting cash' from auto repair shop.

 

It took 3 years of sifting through the business records of an automotive repair shop but investigators culled enough forensics information to obtain an arrest warrant charging a man with embezzling more than $1.1 million from the company.

Eugene R. Ceriello, 48, of 24 Home Ct., Stamford, surrendered Aug. 23 to who obtained an arrest warrant charging him with first-degree larceny in connection with a series of thefts that occurred between January 2005 and December 2008.

This is the second time Ceriello faces charges stemming from the theft from the former Greenwich Automotive Services that was located at 111 W. Putnam Ave., according to Greenwich Police spokesman Lt. Kraig Gray. The local charge "is for the theft of the money; the federal charge was for filing a false tax return."

Gray said local detectives and members of the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force conducted a "forensics examination of all business records" and were able to obtain an arrest warrant for the theft of $1,157,706. Ceriello posted $5,000 bond and is to appear Aug. 30 in state Superior Court in Stamford.

Meanwhile, he is expected to begin serving , Gray said.

On June 2, 2011, Ceriello pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return and admitted that he filed false income tax returns for the 2006, 2007 and 2008 tax years, according to a press release from the US Attorney's Office. He was sentenced this past April to 18 months prison, followed by a year of probation, and to pay to the Internal Revenue Service $295,841.92 in back taxes, penalties and interest, according to the press release.

According to the US Attorney's office, "As the manager, Ceriello had complete control over the day to day operations of Greenwich Automotive Services, as well as complete access to the computerized records that the business maintained. For several years, Ceriello embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Greenwich Automotive Services by taking cash generated from vehicle repair services, as well as from the sale of gasoline and other retail items. Ceriello  regularly accessed the business’ computer system to alter the records of the amount of money the business received.

"Between 2004 and 2008, Ceriello deposited into his bank account approximately $707,485 in cash that had been embezzled from Greenwich Automotive Services, and failed to pay federal taxes on this income. For example, in 2008, Ceriello deposited approximately $191,000 in cash into his bank account, but reported only $52,580 in income on his federal tax return."

Gray would not comment on a motive for the embezzlement scheme. "He took what was not his and the victim is without," Gray said.

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