CFO of two New Jersey companies charged with participating in multimillion-dollar kickback scheme to defraud Williams Sonoma, Inc.


Date: April 26, 2024


OAKLAND — Domenick Nardone appeared in federal court in Oakland this week to face conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and related charges for his alleged role in a kickback scheme that defrauded Williams Sonoma, Inc. (WSI) of millions of dollars, announced United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Mosley of the Oakland Field Office.

According to a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury on March 12, 2024, Nardone of Port St. Lucie, Florida, conspired with others to pay millions of dollars in kickbacks to Eric Marsiglia, a former WSI executive and co-defendant in the case, to ensure Marsiglia would direct additional business to two New Jersey companies controlled in part by Nardone as chief financial officer and minority owner. Nardone was arrested in Florida on March 29, 2024, and made an appearance in federal court there shortly thereafter. He was released on a $250,000 bond.

“Williams Sonoma is a Bay Area institution, and the defendants charged in this case are accused of taking advantage of their positions to defraud that venerable company out of millions of dollars over several years,” said United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey. “As National Crime Victims’ Rights Week comes to an end, I am proud to say this Office is committed to vindicating the rights of all victims, including companies like Williams Sonoma that call our district home.”

“Greed can easily overtake one’s ability to be content. Mr. Nardone abused his position as the chief financial officer and conspired with others to secure favorable contracts only to end up in court,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Mosley. “IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) will continue to unravel the truth and bring these selfish acts to light. We value our partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of California as we press forward with charging those who entangled themselves in this multimillion-dollar kickback scheme.”

WSI is a home-goods retailer that operates brands Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, West Elm, and others. As alleged in the superseding indictment, Marsiglia was WSI’s vice president of engineering, projects, planning, facilities, and real estate, and, as such, was responsible for identifying commercial real estate opportunities for the company. In his position, Marsiglia allegedly solicited and received millions of dollars from the two New Jersey companies—one a forklift company, the other a warehouse racking and logistics company—in part owned and controlled by Nardone and Michael Podhurst, a vice president at the two companies who was also charged for his role in the offense and pleaded guilty in June 2023. In exchange, Marsiglia allegedly directed contracts for WSI’s business to those companies. The superseding indictment alleges that, from 2018 to 2020, WSI awarded companies connected to Nardone and/or Podhurst more than $48 million in contracts for work done at warehouses around the country, and that Marsiglia, Nardone, and Podhurst arranged for more than $12 million in kickbacks to be paid to Marsiglia’s shell company, REM Group LLC, which Marsiglia allegedly set up for the sole purpose of receiving and hiding kickback payments.

The superseding indictment also alleges that Marsiglia engaged in a second scheme to defraud WSI. In his role at WSI, Marsiglia was responsible for negotiating real estate contracts on behalf of WSI that required third parties to pay millions of dollars in brokerage fee rebates to WSI. According to the superseding indictment, rather than ensure that WSI received the brokerage fee rebates, Marsiglia conspired with others to have the rebates paid to his shell company, REM Group LLC. The superseding indictment charges Marsiglia and others with diverting and misappropriating approximately $5.9 million in broker commission rebates owed to WSI.

In total, the superseding indictment alleges that, from 2018–2022, Marsiglia fraudulently received nearly $20 million through his shell company, REM Group LLC, all of which was in the form of stolen broker rebate payments or kickbacks received for awarding business to entities connected to Nardone and/or Podhurst.

Marsiglia of Olive Branch, Mississippi, first appeared on the superseding indictment in federal court in San Francisco on April 23, 2024, although he had previously appeared in federal court in both Mississippi and San Francisco on an indictment issued in April 2023. Both Marsiglia and Nardone are next scheduled to appear in federal court in San Francisco on June 11, 2024, before the Honorable Richard Seeborg, Chief United States District Judge. The defendants have each pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Nardone and Marsiglia each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution, if appropriate, for each violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343, 1346, and 1349, as well as a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a fine of $500,000, plus restitution, if appropriate, for each violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h). The court also may order an additional term of supervised release to begin after any prison term as part of the sentence for either or both defendants. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christiaan Highsmith is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Aarian Beiti. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by CI.

CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a more than a 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.