A man from Sewell, New Jersey, has been sentenced to one year in prison and two years of supervised release for filing false currency reports and helping to defraud a wholesale produce market in Philadelphia. According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, he must also pay a $5,000 fine for his role in the scheme.
Thomas Del Borrello, 42, who pleaded guilty in April, held a supervisory role at a United Check Cashing branch in Philadelphia frequented by the president and CEO of Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, Caesar “Sonny” DiCrecchio. DiCrecchio, prosecutors say, stole $7.8 million from the market — and did so, in part, by making checks out to fake companies from the market’s account and then having Del Borrello cash them. In addition, Del Borello assisted DiCrecchio in diverting some of the funds payable to the market into separate money orders. These money orders, along with the other ill-gotten funds, were then used to pay for DiCrecchio’s personal expenses, which included a home in Stone Harbor that he rented for over $14,000 per month and paying $26,000 to board his granddaughter’s horses.
DiCrecchio, who also pleaded guilty to the scheme, admitted that while the individual checks were for amounts less than $10,000, the checks would often be grouped together and would total over $10,000 when cashed collectively. But although required by law to file a currency transaction report (CTR) for any transaction exceeding that $10,000 threshold, Del Borrello would instead ignore that requirement and decline to file the proper paperwork. Other times, he chose to file fake CTRs that helped to hide DiCrecchio’s identity.
Investigators maintain that DiCrecchio’s illicit activities began sometime in 2008, although it’s unclear whether Del Borello was involved from the beginning. DiCrecchio’s duplicity also included pocketing a portion of the proceeds from the market’s cash-only parking lot. He distributed some of the $2.6 million in stolen money among the market’s employees as “under the table” pay and kept the rest. Another misdeed involved him lending a vendor $180,000 on behalf of the market but then pocketing the repayment funds. It seems he continued these schemes, siphoning off bits at a time, up until 2018, when he abruptly relinquished his role as president and CEO after authorities started looking further into the market’s finances.
Interestingly, as DiCrecchio was stealing funds from the market, he was simultaneously making a name for himself as a local philanthropist. Though he spent the bulk of the stolen proceeds on himself and his family, he also donated money to string bands, paid to send a child with cancer and his family to the Super Bowl, and regularly covered home repairs and medical bills for those in need. His story, therefore, serves as a reminder that good deeds can be and are used as a front to hide criminal acts and launder ill-gotten gains. Financial institutions must remain vigilant about flagging any transaction that seems suspicious, regardless of whether the stated purpose seems legitimate and perhaps even altruistic.