A Fairfield County man has been sentenced to nearly two years behind bars for defrauding the owners of Stamford Twin Rinks of nearly a half million dollars while he worked as a general manager.
Shelton resident Mark Zito, 55, was sentenced in New Haven District Court this week to 21 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, after pleading guilty in December last year to one count of wire fraud.
From October 1999 to August 2014, Zito served as the general manager at the ice rink in Stamford, which is owned and operated by RivCan Associates. Zito was responsible for managing and overseeing the facility’s operations, and he had a written contract with RivCan, in which he would be paid commissions for securing agreements from third-party vendors to place advertising at the ice skating facility. While working at the rink, Zito created an utilized AAZ Consulting, which billed RivCan for the commissions.
During his time as general manager, Zito submitted a series of fraudulent invoices, primarily for services that RivCan neither requested nor authorized, or for “grossly inflated” commissions, according to John Durham, the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut. Zito admitted to approving the payment of those invoices and directed subordinates to issue him checks payable to his consulting company.
In total, Zito illegally stole $490,468.81, which also includes funds he took by claiming payments for maintaining and updating the skating rink facility’s Internet website, and through unauthorized benefits in the form of excess salary payments, excess vacation pay, and cell phone reimbursements.
On Dec. 20 last year, Zito pleaded guilty. He must also make full restitution for his crimes. He remains released on bond and was ordered to report to prison on Sept. 25.
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