Hudson man pleads guilty to embezzling money from tour operator Mayfield – News-Herald

A Hudson man has pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $600,000 from a Mayfield Village-based company that offered educational trips to students.

Joseph A. Cipolletti, 47, pleaded guilty to an 18-count indictment that charged him with wire fraud, money laundering, bank fraud and misrepresentation under oath in a proceeding bankruptcy, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the North. District of Ohio.

Cipolletti was vice president of Discovery Tours, a company that provided educational trips for students to destinations including Washington, DC, Chicago and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

As vice president, Cipolletti managed the organization’s finances, general ledger entries, accounts payable and accounts receivable. Cipolletti also had signing authority over Discovery Tours’ business bank accounts, according to court records.

From June 2014 to May 2018, Cipolletti devised a scheme to defraud parents and other purchasers of student travel by diverting payments intended for those trips to his personal use for items such as home improvements and vehicles, records show. judicial.

Due to Cipolletti’s actions and subsequent attempts to cover up the scheme, Discovery Tours abruptly ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy in May 2018, the press release said.

Student trips to Washington, DC, have been canceled for dozens of schools across Ohio, and more than 5,000 families have lost the money they previously paid for travel expenses. School districts in the News-Herald’s coverage area were among those affected, including Mentor, Riverside and Chardon.

Additionally, on December 10, 2018, in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Cipolletti knowingly made affidavits regarding and relating to the bankruptcy status of his organization, the statement said. Press.

Cipolletti claimed he owed no money to his company when in fact, and as he knew then, he had embezzled over $600,000 from his place of business and made false entries into the grand general book.

The total amount of financial losses will be determined by the court at sentencing. Cipolletti is expected to be sentenced by Judge Pamela Barker on November 29.