A former Middletown mayor who was arrested, accused of embezzling almost $1 million from his former employer as well as a family member, has pleaded guilty, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.
Police said 68-year-old Stephen T. Gionfriddo, of Middletown, was accused of embezzling approximately $540,000 from a Rocky Hill law firm he worked for and its clients, then stealing nearly $400,000 from his brother to pay the law firm back.
Gionfriddo was arrested on June 12, charged him with wire fraud and pleaded guilty Tuesday, according to the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.
In 2006, Gionfriddo was convicted of mail fraud and wire fraud for embezzling more than $633,000 from clients while he was acting as their attorney, according to the federal officials, and he was disbarred.
Gionfriddo was accused of making bogus requisitions for approximately $377,895 in checks from the law firm between December 2013 and September 2017, purportedly to pay client expenses, but he used the funds for his personal use, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Gionfriddo was also accused of forging the signature of one of the firm’s partners to convert a certificate of deposit for $112,748.21 to a check. In all, he is accused of stealing $543,372.21 from the law firm and his clients.
When principals of the law firm confronted him, in September 2017, Gionfriddo promised to repay the firm and took money from a family member’s checking account and online trading account and impersonated family, causing a hardship withdrawal of $195,000 to be made against his family member’s contribution plan, federal authorities said.
Gionfriddo served as the mayor of Middletown for six months in 1993, according to the Associated Press.
He will be sentenced on Feb. 12.