Minnesotta–(ENEWSPF)– A 35-year-old Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty today in federal court in St. Paul to scheming more than $900,000 from Richfield-based Best Buy Co. Appearing before United States District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank, Joseph Anthony Graziola, III, of Glenmills, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud. In addition, Graziola pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud in relation to charges out of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Graziola was indicted in the District of Minnesota on November 17, 2009.
In his Minnesota plea agreement, Graziola admitted that from December of 2004 through December of 2005, he submitted fraudulent invoices to Best Buy on behalf of his shipping company for the shipping of electronic equipment that was never performed. Graziola had Best Buy send the payments for those invoices, amounting to just over $900,000, to a post office box in Glenolden, Pennsylvania.
In his Pennsylvania case, Graziola admitted that from May of 2003 through January of 2006, he fraudulently collected over $120,000 in fees from more than 250 customers of his Webbased business, Bad Credit B Gone (“BCBG”), a law firm that supposedly secured deletion of unfavorable items from customers’ credit reports in exchange for fees. In truth, Graziola never employed any attorneys and did not change anyone’s credit reports. In order to secure customers, Graziola admittedly published and shipped both promotional materials and customer applications that highlighted the company’s false claims. He charged $500 per individual and $750 per couple for the services he purported to provide.
For his crimes, Graziola faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count. Judge Frank will determine his sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled.
The Minnesota case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.