West Haven councilman admits embezzling funds from New Canaan bank
Updated 6:18 pm, Monday, November 24, 2014
A West Haven city councilman and former New Canaan banker could spend up to 20 years in jail after he waived his right to indictment and admitted Monday to embezzling more than $100,000 in funds from customer bank accounts in New Canaan.
Stephen DeCrescenzo, who resigned from that city's council Monday, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud stemming from the embezzlement scheme, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Between approximately September 2008 and November 2011, DeCrescenzo, who was employed as personal banker for JPMorgan Chase Bank in New Canaan, embezzled $106,028 by transferring the funds into a separate customer account to which he had access, according to the release.
As part of the scheme, he "disguised numerous withdrawals from the accounts as authorized cash withdrawals by customers when, in fact, he had stolen the money," the release states.
DeCrescenzo, 37, is also accused or wiring funds stolen from a customer account into another bank account for his personal benefit.
U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven scheduled sentencing for Feb. 17, 2015. The defendant, who posted $50,000 bond, faces a maximum term of 20 years in jail.
DeCrescenzo was first arrested on Nov. 1, 2013, after an investigation that opened up August of that year after bank security called police to report fraudulent activity in three of its customers' accounts. The investigation, which was conducted by the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force, and police in New Canaan and Greenwich, alleged that DeCrescenzo embezzled money from two accounts and used a third account to filter the money, according to a release issued at that time.
Police also said in 2013 that DeCrescenzo was seen on camera putting an envelope full of money into his desk drawer before later moving the envelope into his personal backpack.
A resume included in DeCrescenzo's original court file shows that he began his career at a beverage company and moved quickly up the ladder in the banking industry. In 2007, he was president and branch manager at Cornerstone Mortgage in Essex; he was later a small business specialist at a Norwich office for Bank of America. He moved to Chase in 2011, first at the bank's Milford office, where he was also a small business specialist, before moving to the New Canaan branch in 2012, where he was hired to increase business customers and work outside the branch to develop new banking relationships in New Canaan and Wilton.