Three Men Charged with Defrauding Illinois Company of More Than $1.5 Million
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Brian C. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a grand jury in New Haven has returned a seven-count indictment alleging that JOHN T. FINKLE III, 57, of East Haven, Connecticut; STEVEN C. GOLD, 46, of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, and KENNETH J. PEDROLI, 59, of Stony Brook, New York, operated a scheme that defrauded an Illinois-based company of more than $1.5 million.
The indictment was returned on February 13, and Finkle surrendered to law enforcement this morning. Following his arrest, he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah A. L. Merriam in New Haven, entered a plea of not guilty to the charges, and was released on a $500,000 bond secured by his East Haven residence and a rental property in East Haven owned by his wife. Gold and Pedroli will be arraigned in the near future.
As alleged in the indictment, Finkle and Gold were employed by an Illinois-based supplier of electronic components, identified in the indictment as “Company A.” Finkle was primarily employed in sales for the company and Gold operated the accounting and billing systems for the company. Pedroli purchased electronic components from Company A for a business he operated in Islandia, New York.
The indictment alleges that between approximately February 2015 and December 2018, Finkle, Gold and Pedroli defrauded Company A through a scheme involving purchases that Pedroli made from the company. As part of the scheme, Finkle instructed Pedroli to place his orders and list prices at a fraction of Company A’s published prices. After Finkle submitted Pedroli’s orders to Company A at the discounted prices, the products were shipped from Company A to Pedroli. Finkle instructed Pedroli to pay only a portion of the invoiced price and to make the payments directly to Finkle. Pedroli then wrote checks to Finkle, which Finkle deposited into his personal bank account.
It is further alleged that Finkle instructed Gold to apply fictitious credits to the invoices in order to reduce the amount of money Pedroli owed Company A. Finkle then wrote checks to Gold, which Gold deposited into his personal bank account.
It is alleged that Company A was defrauded of more than $1.5 million, and that Finkle profited more than $500,000, through this scheme.
The indictment charges each defendant with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. The indictment also charges Finkle with two counts of wire fraud, Gold with two counts of wire fraud, and Pedroli with two counts of mail fraud. Each of these charges also carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Miller.