Former Middletown mayor arrested, charged with embezzling nearly $1 million

Stephen Gionfriddo in 2004

NEW HAVEN — Former Middletown Mayor Stephen Gionfriddo was arrested on charges he embezzled nearly $1 million from a former employer and a family member.

Gionfriddo, 67, of Middletown, was arrested Tuesday and charged with wire fraud in connection with an alleged scheme in which he embezzled approximately $490,000 from his former employer, and  $457,000 from a family member to pay back his former employer.

Gionfriddo appeared in court and was released on a $200,000 bond.

Gionfriddo was convicted of federal wire fraud and mail fraud offenses in 2006 for embezzling more than $633,000 from clients while acting as their attorney.

Officials said, “From approximately December 2013 through September 2017, while Gionfriddo was working as a paralegal at a law firm in greater Hartford, he made bogus requisitions for approximately $377,895.67 in checks purportedly to pay client expenses.  Gionfriddo converted these funds for his personal use.  Gionfriddo also forged the signature of one of the firm’s partners in order to fraudulently convert a certificate of deposit (CD) of approximately $112,748.21 to a check, which funds he also converted for his personal use.  In total, Gionfriddo stole $490,648.88 from the law firm.”

Prosecutors said when principals at the law firm confronted Gionfriddo about the theft of funds in late September 2017. “Gionfriddo promised to repay the firm.  Gionfriddo then stole from a family member by taking approximately $45,000 from a checking account and approximately $217,000 from an online trading account.  He also caused a hardship withdrawal of $195,000 to be made against his family member’s defined contribution plan by impersonating his family member on recorded telephone calls with the plan’s provider and submitting bogus paperwork.”

Gionfriddo faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.