Shelton Man Pleads Guilty To Embezzling From Employer

A Shelton resident pleaded guilty Wednesday to embezzling nearly $500,000 while working at a Stamford ice rink.

Mark J. Zito, 55, now faces up to 20 years in prison, though a plea agreement in the case indicates he’ll likely be sentenced to between 27 and 33 months behind bars.

According to a prepared statement from U.S. Attorney John H. Durham, Zito was the general manager of the Stamford Twin Rinks from October 1999 to August 2014.

Durham said Zito had a contract with the rink’s owners “in which he would be paid commissions for securing agreements from third party vendors to place advertising at the ice skating facility.”

Durham said Zito submitted invoices “for commissions that were either fraudulent or grossly inflated,” then approved paying them in his capacity as manager of the facility.

“The total loss from Zito’s illegal conduct is $490,468.81, which also includes funds he received by claiming payments for purportedly maintaining and updating the skating rink facility’s internet website, and through unauthorized benefits in the form of excess salary payments, excess vacation pay, and cellular telephone reimbursements,” Durham said.

On Wednesday Zito pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud before Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven.

Judge Hall scheduled sentencing for March 19, 2018.

Zito is free on bond until the sentencing.

Durham said the case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, Stamford Police Department, Connecticut State Police, and Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen. 

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