Former Plymouth Finance Director pleads guilty to theft and tax charges

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BRIDGEPORT – The former finance director for Plymouth pleaded guilty to charges he stole money from the town and failed to report income on his taxes.

David Bertnagel, 41 of Thomaston, pleaded guilty Friday in Bridgeport federal court to charges stemming from his embezzlement of more than $800,000 from the Town of Plymouth.

Bertnagel pleaded guilty to one count of theft from a local government receiving federal funds, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and one count making and subscribing a false tax return, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of three years.  He is scheduled for sentencing on May 15th.

As part of his plea agreement, the U.S. Attorney’s office said,  “Bertnagel agreed to make restitution in the amount of $808,029.94 to the Town of Plymouth, and he must cooperate with the IRS to pay all outstanding taxes, penalties and interest.  Bertagel also has agreed to forfeit more than $45,000 that he held in bank accounts, and assorted jewelry, stamps, coins and other collectibles that were seized on the date of his arrest.”

Officials said from 2008 to 2014, Bertnagel was employed on a part-time basis in the town’s finance department. From July 2014 to October 2014, he was employed full-time. From October 2011 to October 2014, official allege, cut 207 checks to himself for $808,030 from the town’s payroll account. Officials said he used the funds to make mortgage payments, buy coins and stamps worth over $100,000, make credit card payments, and pay for home improvements. Almost $200,000 of the total was obtained by cashed checks, ATM withdrawals and money orders.

Officials also said in 2011 he did not file a tax return and in 2012 and 2013 he failed to report his embezzled income.

Plymouth’s town budget for the 2013 fiscal year was slightly more than $39 million.

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