A Middletown paralegal and former mayor has been charged with stealing more than $900,000 from the law firm LeFoll & LeFoll and his brother, who is an attorney.
Stephen Gionfriddo, 68, served as Middletown’s mayor in 1993. But prosecutors say he embezzled about $490,000 from ”a small law firm in Rocky Hill,” according to court documents. Charging documents do not identify the firm, but the Connecticut Law Tribune confirmed Gionfriddo worked for LeFoll & LeFoll, a father-daughter law firm that has been in business for about 50 years.
Prosecutors also claim Gionfriddo stole $457,000 more from his brother, identified in court papers only by the initials “DG,” to repay the law firm. The brother is an attorney for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The government charged Gionfriddo with wire fraud stemming from the alleged scheme. Gionfriddo appeared Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Merriam in New Haven and was released on a $200,000 bond. He was convicted of federal wire fraud and mail fraud offenses in 2006, and faces up to 20 years in prison.
LeFoll & LeFoll partner Raymond LeFoll did not respond to a request for comment Thursday. His partner, Tammy LeFoll, declined to comment. The firm, according to its website, handles personal injury claims, estate planning and elder law, divorce and family law and bankruptcy and consumer law.
The complaint alleges that while working as a paralegal from December 2013 through September 2017, Gionfriddo made bogus requisitions for about $377,895 in checks purportedly to pay client expenses. Gionfriddo, the government says, converted the funds for his personal use. He forged the signature of one of the firm’s partners to fraudulently convert a certificate of deposit of about $112,748 to a check. He then pocketed the money, according to the government.
The complaint further states that when confronted in September 2017 by principals of the law firm, Gionfriddo promised to repay them. The government says Gionfriddo stole from his brother in order to pay back the law firm. In total, Gionfriddo is said to have stolen $45,000 from his brother’s checking account and about $217,000 from an online trading account. The government said he also caused a hardship withdrawal of $195,000 to be made against his brother’s retirement plan by impersonating him on recorded telephone lines with the plan’s provider and submitting bogus paperwork.
The June 8 affidavit notes that Gionfriddo’s brother suffers from multiple sclerosis.
Reached at his home Thursday, Gionfriddo declined to comment. His attorney, Richard Brown of Brown, Paindiris & Scott in Hartford, did not respond to a request for comment.
The case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Wines. Tom Carson, a spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, said the office would not comment.
Read the charging document: