Sentenced_NCPA

Scranton, Pa. - A Clarks Summit man was sentenced to prison after being found guilty of fraud, aggravated identity theft, and false statement offenses for a scheme that spanned three states.

United States District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion sentenced Brian Larry, 60, to 94 months' imprisonment. A federal jury previously convicted Larry of all 13 charges in his indictment on May 10, 2021.  

According to United States Attorney John C. Gurganus, Larry defrauded his former employer, a Wilkes-Barre based automobile warranty company, out of over $400,000.

From January 2014 through October 2018, Larry, the manager of the claims department, stole the personal information of warranty policy owners. Larry then provided it to his coconspirators, who created false invoices for nonexistent automobile repair work supposedly performed at various garages in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

The scheme included the forgery of the policy owners’ signatures on the paperwork. The false and forged documentation was then sent to the warranty company, where Larry approved payment of the invoices, in  exchange for cash kickbacks.

During the course of the scheme, Larry and his coconspirators obtained approximately $400,000 paid out by the warranty company pursuant to the false invoices, including thousands of dollars in repair work for Larry’s personal vehicle that he charged to other policy owners.

The evidence at trial showed that Larry then falsified internal warranty company documents in an attempt to conceal his crimes. When confronted by FBI special agents, Larry denied receiving cash kickbacks in exchange for his participation in the scheme. 

In pronouncing the sentence, Judge Mannion highlighted that Larry had expressed no remorse for his illegal conduct. Judge Mannion also ordered Larry to pay $394,701.96 to the victim of his crimes, and to serve three years of supervised release following service of his imprisonment term.  

Three of Larry’s coconspirators also were convicted in this investigation:

1. Matthew Gershkoff, age 64, of North Providence, Rhode Island pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire and mail fraud, and to aggravated identity theft, and was sentenced to 30 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. 

Gershkoff was convicted of preparing false invoices for nonexistent automobile repairs at multiple automobile repair shops located in Rhode Island and in  Massachusetts, and for forging policy owners’ signatures. He pleaded guilty on May 18, 2020, to causing between $250,000 and $550,000 of fraudulent loss to the Wilkes-Barre based automobile warranty company, and was ordered to pay restitution of $385,352.19. 

2. Herman Cabral, age 62, of Cranston, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud, and was sentenced to 10 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release.

Cabral was convicted of processing false invoices for nonexistent automobile repairs through his Providence, Rhode Island automobile detailing shop, A Plus Auto Services. Cabral pleaded guilty on July 23, 2019, to causing between $150,000 and $250,000 of fraudulent loss to the Wilkes-Barre based  automobile warranty company, and was ordered to pay $211,644.03 in restitution. 

3. Jason Pannone, age 40, of North Providence, Rhode Island pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire and mail fraud, and to aggravated identity theft, and was sentenced to 18 months of imprisonment and two years of supervised release. 

Pannone was convicted of processing false invoices for nonexistent automobile repairs through his Providence, Rhode Island automobile detailing shop, Platinum Auto Services, and through Ultra Auto Services, where he was employed. Pannone pleaded guilty on March 23, 2021, to causing between $95,000 and $150,000 of  fraudulent loss to the Wilkes-Barre based automobile warranty company, and was ordered to pay restitution of $128,667.16. 

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Phillip J. Caraballo and Jeffrey St John prosecuted the case. 

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