A Seaford man who worked as a manager for Con Edison pleaded guilty on Monday to federal charges he had stolen nearly $4 million in customer payments to the utility, officials announced.
John Farchione, 65, a former customer operations manager, entered a guilty plea in federal court in Manhattan to four felony counts in connection to the scheme that federal prosecutors said ran from 2005 to 2016.
In a statement, Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Farchione obtained and kept millions of dollars in customer payments meant to go to the utility and then manipulated Con Ed’s computer and accounting systems to conceal the theft.
Farchione, who allegedly carried out the scheme with the help of a Queens contractor who aggregated customer payments, entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken, Berman said. Court records showed the trial in Farchione’s case was scheduled to begin the day he took his plea.
“As he has now admitted, for more than a decade, John Farchione abused his position to steal millions of dollars from his employer,” Berman said.
Farchione resigned from Con Ed in December 2016 while the company was still investigating the matter, Bob McGee, of Con Ed media relations, said in an email Thursday. "Customers were not harmed; the scheme involved stealing money from the company. The fraud was uncovered as a result of employees expressing concerns about unusual practices to their managers," McGee said.
Sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 16. Farchione pleaded guilty to one count of honest services fraud, one count of mail fraud, a conspiracy to commit mail fraud charge and aggravated identity theft, Berman said. Farchione faces maximum sentences of 20 years each on the top charges of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, officials said.
Farchione was originally charged in May 2017, along with Louis Bendel, 69, a contractor who collected customer payments. Court records indicated that the case involving Bendel was still pending. Telephone and email messages to lawyers for Farchione and Bendel weren’t returned.