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September 25, 2023

Accountants Behaving Badly: Fraud Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

I never thought I’d ever write the words “egg accountant busted in embezzlement scheme” but here we are. The egg accountant, Jonathan Weston, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh June 3 on charges of fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and tax fraud.

According to the U.S. Attorney Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania:

The six-count Indictment charges Jonathan A. Weston, 57, of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, with one count of fraud conspiracy, one count of money laundering conspiracy, two counts of willful failure to file tax returns, and two counts of filing false income tax returns. The indictment was returned under seal on May 25 and unsealed today following Weston’s arrest.

From October 2005 to January 2019, Weston, a former employee of Hillandale Farms Co. located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, engaged in a scheme with a person known as VP, to embezzle approximately $6.8 million dollars from Hillandale Farms, and then launder the stolen money through businesses they both controlled, purchase collectible cars and real estate, and engage in lavish personal expenditures. In addition, the indictment alleges that in calendar years 2015 and 2018 Weston failed to file tax returns, and in tax years 2016 and 2017 Weston filed false returns.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Weston allegedly bought Lexus and Aston Martin convertibles, Waverunners, and a downtown Pittsburgh high-rise condo with the stolen money. He also is accused by investigators of using the stolen money on personal credit cards and payments for his children’s college tuition.

That VP person worked as a bookkeeper and secretary for Hillandale Farms, and was Weston’s personal secretary at one point, according to the Tribune-Review. The bookkeeper is accused in the indictment of using money stolen from the egg distributor to buy household furniture, groceries, and clothes and go on trips to Florida, Indiana, Maryland, New York, and Texas.

VP has not yet been charged with any crimes. However, Weston could face a maximum total sentence of 58 years in prison and a fine of $2.5 million if convicted of all charges.

U.S. Attorney: Hillandale Farms accountant embezzled $6.8M, spent stolen money on luxury cars, condo, travel jaunts [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

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