May 28, 2004 – LAWFUEL – Kevin J. O’Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced today that RAYMOND J. WISNIESKI, age 59, of 93 Cognewaugh Road, Cos Cob, Connecticut; OTTO GUHL, JR., age 57, of 745 High Ridge Road, Stamford, Connecticut, and ROBERT J. WILSON, age 62, of 443 Erwin Street, Trumbull, Connecticut. – three former employees of Pitney Bowes in Stamford, Connecticut – were sentenced today by United States District Judge Janet C. Hall in Bridgeport. The three had previously waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a two-count Information charging involvement in a scheme to defraud Pitney Bowes (mail fraud) and with filing a false U.S. personal income tax return.
In separate proceedings in Bridgeport federal court, United States District Judge Janet C. Hall sentenced WISNIESKI to 37 months of imprisonment, GUHL to 21 months of imprisonment, and WILSON to 18 months of imprisonment. The Court also sentenced each to three years of supervised release and a fine of $5,000. Each defendant had already made full restitution to Pitney Bowes and had filed amended tax returns of the years in question and paid any additional taxes owed.
According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, from in or about June 1995 through in or about May 2003, while employed at Pitney Bowes, WISNIESKI, GUHL and WILSON engaged in a scheme to defraud Pitney Bowes. In particular, WISNIESKI, an Assistant Controller of the Accounting, Tax and Disbursement Services Department of Mailing Systems Finance, a division of Pitney Bowes, arranged for false entries to be made to the accounting records at Pitney Bowes to the benefit of himself, GUHL and WILSON. GUHL and WILSON worked under WISNIESKI in the same department. The false entries suggested that Pitney Bowes had withheld from the defendants’ income significantly more federal and state income taxes than, in fact, had been withheld. As part of the scheme, the defendants would tell Pitney Bowes that the withholding amounts were mistakenly overstated and have Pitney Bowes refund to them a portion of the monies that the company’s accounting system suggested had been withheld.
Because the defendants would not typically seek payment from Pitney Bowes for the entire overstated withholding amount, Pitney Bowes would still forward to the IRS, at the required time, the taxes that allegedly had been withheld from each defendant’s salary. Thereafter, the defendants would file their yearly federal personal income tax returns. Because the withholding payments made by Pitney Bowes to the IRS far exceeded the taxes due on the defendants’ actual salary, the defendants would each year receive a substantial refund. During the scheme, the tax returns filed by the defendants were materially false because they did not include as income the money the defendants had stolen from Pitney Bowes as a result of their scheme.
During the scheme, WISNIESKI unlawfully obtained $492,972 from Pitney Bowes and failed to pay $112,287 in federal income taxes. GUHL unlawfully obtained $351,496 from Pitney Bowes and failed to pay $78,703 in federal income taxes. WILSON unlawfully obtained $177,200 from Pitney Bowes and failed to pay $37,036 in federal income taxes.
The case was investigated by Special Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser.