Worker Admits to Conning Con Ed
Customers Paid Their Bills and He Took the Cash
Kickbacks for Crooked Customers
NEW YORK– An electrifying court case fizzled out as a former Con Ed worker pled guilty to stealing customer payments for their electric bills to the tune of $4 million.
The Manhattan US Attorney’s Office announced the guilty plea of John Farchione to defrauding a public utility of $4 million over an 11-year span.
Prosecutors only would say that Farchione worked as a manager of a public utility but published reports cite that he worked for Con Ed.
Between 2005 and 2016, prosecutors said Farchione took customer payments of their electric bills for himself.
He would then enter false billing information into the public utility’s computer and accounting systems saying that the customers paid.
Then he would cash the payments for himself.
Farchione worked as a manager in the utility’s customer services department.
He would take the bill payments to an accomplice, Louis Bendel, whose company handled payments for the utility.
She would cash the checks and then they would submit fraudulent paid checks to the utility.
Bendel pled guilty to her role in scheme.
The scam went even further including a kick back system. Prosecutors said using his knowledge of the utility’s accounting system, Farchione would create false positive balances in certain customers accounts and appear that the customer was due a refund.
Once the utility cut the refund check, the customer would share the money with Farchione and Bendel.
Farchione, 65, pled guilty to one count each of honest services fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; conspiracy to commit mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and aggravated identity theft in connection with the fraudulent schemes, which carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, to be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed.
The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.
In addition, Farchione will be subject to financial penalties including restitution and forfeiture in amounts to be determined at sentencing.