A former Connecticut convict is facing 20 years in prison after allegedly stealing nearly $500,000 from his employer and then embezzling more than $450,000 from a family member in an attempt to pay back the money he allegedly initially stole.
John Durham, the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced on Tuesday that Middletown resident Stephen Gionfriddo, 67, has been arrested and charged with wire fraud stemming from an alleged scheme in which he embezzled approximately $490,000 from his former employer, and then embezzled approximately $457,000 from a family member to pay back his former employer.
According to the criminal complaint, from December 2013 through September 2017, while working as a paralegal in Hartford, Gionfriddo made fraudulent requisitions for an estimated $377,895.67 in checks purportedly to pay client expenses. Gionfriddo allegedly converted those funds for personal use. Gionfriddo also allegedly forged the signature of one of the firm’s partners in order to fraudulently convert a certificate of deposit of approximately $112,748.21 to a check, which funds he also converted for his personal use. In total, Gionfriddo stole $490,648.88 from the law firm.
Gionfriddo was previously convicted of federal wire fraud and mail fraud in 2006 for embezzling more than $633,000 from clients while acting as their attorney.
When confronted by the principals at his law firm in September last year, the complaint alleges that Gionfriddo promised to repay the firm, and in turn, stole from a family member by taking approximately $45,000 from a checking account and approximately $217,000 from an online trading account. Gionfriddo also allegedly caused a hardship withdrawal of $195,000 to be made against his family member’s defined contribution plan by impersonating his family member on recorded telephone calls with the plan’s provider and submitting fraudulent paperwork.
Gionfriddo appeared in district court in New Haven on Tuesday and was released on a $200,000 bond. He is due back in court later this year, when he will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in state prison.
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