The former president of a Pennsylvania construction company is facing years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing $516,000 from the firm to support his high-flying lifestyle.
For more than seven years, prosecutors say, Thomas Bruce Stevenson, 58, spent Veneesa Construction’s money—which he had described as “loans”—on a Waverunner, a hot tub, a horse trailer and other luxury goods for himself and his wife.
|Thomas Bruce Stevenson admitted stealing $516,000. He described the money as loans.|
A separate civil suit also alleges that Stevenson wrote a paycheck to his dead son on the company’s account.
Stevenson, of Jamison, PA, pleaded guilty Tuesday (June 5) in the case, reported phillyburbs.com.
Forgeries and Fraud
As president, Stevenson oversaw the company’s construction projects, authorities said.
They said Stevenson had used a stamp to forge the signature of Veneesa owner Joseph Ventresca and had created dummy tax and loan records to divert funds from the company, based in Chalfont, PA, outside Philadelphia.
From 2000 to 2007, prosecutors said, Stevenson wrote checks to himself and to family members.
The scheme unraveled when Ventresca became suspicious and hired a forensic auditor to examine discrepancies in the company’s accounts, prosecutors told phillyburbs.com.
Stevenson’s lawyer told the news site that Stevenson “took responsibility right away” for the fraud.
“He has never denied his responsibility, but there remains a question about what he was entitled to,” said attorney Richard Fink.
The answer to that question is now the subject of a civil suit by Joseph Ventresca and his wife.
Stevenson faces more than five years in prison when he is sentenced. Meanwhile, he is out on bail.
CFO Faces Trial
While free, however, Stevenson is expected to have one more job: testifying in the upcoming trial of Michael LoStracco, Veneesa’s former accountant and chief financial officer. That trial begins June 18.
Prosecutors say LoStracco helped Stevenson create bogus records and falsify the company’s tax records to hide the thefts, siphoning off $106,000 in the process.
Stevenson and LoStracco were charged in September with theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and conspiracy. Stevenson was also charged with forgery and identity theft. LoStracco was also charged with failure to make required disposition of funds after a federal investigation found that employee 401(k) contributions withheld from paychecks had not been deposited in accounts.
At the time, Fink dismissed the charges as “a lawsuit gone wild,” reports said.