Date: June 11, 2020
PHILADELPHIA – Steven J. Russo of Pennsburg, PA, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud and filing false tax returns before United States District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl. The charges arose from Russo's embezzlement of $2.79 million from his former employer, a company in Lancaster, PA, for which he served as the Director of Information Technology from November 2013 until October 2018.
Russo used his access to his former employer's lines of credit and credit cards to make unearned payments to companies owned and controlled by him, and to purchase items that he kept for his personal use or sold for his personal gain. He also caused his former employer to issue checks to the companies he owned and controlled, and to make payments via PayPal to an account he controlled. Russo reported his taxable income for 2017 as only $18,579, when in reality his taxable income was nearly $1 million.
"Not only did Mr. Russo steal millions of dollars from his employer, he also stole from the government and the American people when he decided to shirk his tax obligations," said IRS-Criminal Investigation's Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso. "His admission of guilt today underscores our commitment to protecting the integrity of the tax system by ensuring that everyone pays their fair share of taxes."
"The U.S. Attorney's Office takes offenses like embezzlement and tax fraud very seriously," said U.S. Attorney McSwain. "Russo stole millions by abusing his trusted position with his former employer. My Office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect innocent businesses and taxpayers from being victimized by this type of fraud."
Russo faces up to twenty-three years in prison, as well as restitution, fines, supervised release, and special assessments.
This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bea Witzleben.