Date: November 22, 2021
PHILADELPHIA — United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Caesar DiCrecchio of Voorhees, NJ, was sentenced to ten years and one month in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay more than $8 million in restitution by United States District Court Judge Cynthia M. Rufe for defrauding the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market of over $7.8 million.
In April 2021, the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy, one count of aggravated identity theft, and four counts of tax evasion, all of which allegedly caused more than $7.8 million in losses to the wholesale produce business in South Philadelphia.
DiCrecchio, the former President and CEO of the Produce Market, defrauded the Market by using company funds to pay $1.9 million in rent on his Stone Harbor, New Jersey shore house; converting into cash $1.1 million in checks drawn on the Market’s bank account and using the cash for his own benefit; causing $1.7 million in checks to be issued from the Market operating account payable to his friends or relatives; causing the Market to pay for the defendant’s personal credit card expenditures; converting $320,000 in checks that were payable to the Market and cashing them for his own benefit; skimming $2.6 million in cash from the pay gate at the Market’s parking lot, which he used to pay Market employees ‘under the table’ while keeping a substantial portion for his own use; and using Market funds to provide a $180,000 loan to a Market vendor, which the vendor repaid directly to DiCrecchio. The defendant concealed these expenditures in the Market’s books and records by directing that these payments be reflected as legitimate business expenditures, for example: notated as maintenance, snow removal, insurance, legal fees and other false expenditure entries.
DiCrecchio committed aggravated identity theft by cashing checks at a currency exchange using the name of an unwitting victim as the payee. Further, DiCrecchio conspired to engage in money laundering by agreeing with two unnamed individuals to conduct repeated money laundering transactions using money orders drawn on Market accounts and cashed at a currency exchange so that he could pay the rent at his shore house. In total, DiCrecchio laundered approximately $319,736 by purchasing money orders at the currency exchange using Market funds.
DiCrecchio also willfully evaded federal income tax over several years, by failing to report more than $2.1 million in income for tax years 2014 through 2017. DiCrecchio failed to report as income the proceeds of his fraud on the Market, as well as a car allowance, a pension allowance, and consulting income that he received from the Market.
“As the President and CEO, DiCrecchio had a fiduciary duty to steward the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market honestly,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Instead, he stole small amounts here and there from various sources over many years in an attempt to hide the enormous scale and severity of his fraud: a more than $7.8 million loss. Our Office is committed to prosecuting this type of complicated financial fraud so that justice can be served for all victims.”
“Instead of accurately filing and paying his fair share of taxes, Mr. DiCrecchio chose to hide his income and use his business as his personal ATM,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Yury Kruty. “Justice has been served today, as Mr. DiCrecchio is sentenced to federal prison.”
“For years, Caesar DiCrecchio used the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market like his own ATM, to the tune of almost $8 million,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “I’d call that wholesale fraud. Holding DiCrecchio responsible for his crimes is imperative, to send the message that stealing business funds for personal use isn’t such easy money after all.”
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Organized Crime Task Force, and the Pennsylvania State Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael T. Donovan.