PA Man Gets 4 Yrs. for Stealing $900K from Best Buy
A Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty last summer to bilking Richfield-based Best Buy Company out of more than $900,000 has been sentenced to four years in prison.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota, Joseph Anthony Graziola, III, was sentenced Wednesday for five counts of mail fraud-two in Minnesota and three in Pennsylvania. Graziola was indicted in November 2009 and pleaded guilty in June 2010. In addition to jail time, Graziola was ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution.
In the Minnesota case, Graziola admitted in his plea agreement that from December 2004 to December 2005, he submitted invoices to Best Buy on behalf of his shipping company, American Same Day Service, for electronic equipment that was never shipped. Best Buy sent payments for the invoices-which totaled more than $900,000-to a Pennsylvania address.
In the Pennsylvania case, Graziola admitted that from May 2003 through January 2006, he fraudulently collected more than $120,000 in fees through a Web-based business called Bad Credit B Gone. Graziola claimed that his company was a law firm that deleted unfavorable items from customers' credit reports, but in reality, the company never employed attorneys and did not alter customers' credit reports.
In order to secure customers, Graziola published and shipped both promotional materials and customer applications that highlighted the company's false claims, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. He charged $500 per individual and $750 per couple for the services he claimed to provide.
The Pennsylvania case was transferred to U.S. District Court in Minnesota last summer.