Feds say CEO from NJ stole $7.8M for shore house, give to the needy
The former president of the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market was charged with stealing $7.8 million between over 10 years and spent the money on both charities and personal expenses, including his summer beach rental.
He now faces spending the rest of his life in prison if convicted.
Caesar "Sonny" DiCrecchio, 60, of Voorhees, had complete control of the market in South Philadelphia between 2008 and 2018 including its finances. DiCrecchio resigned as CEO in 2018 amidst rumors of an investigation into the market's finances, according to Philly Voice.
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, he hid the expenditures by having the payments identified in the books as legitimate expenses like maintenance, snow removal, insurance and legal fees. DiCrecchio also cashed checks at a currency exchange using an "unwitting victim as the payee." He worked with a supervisor at the exchange in order to cash checks.
Williams said that DiCrecchio spent $1.9 million of the stolen funds to pay for his shore house in Stone Harbor, $1.1 million was converted into cash and $1.7 million in checks issued from the Market's account went to friends and relatives.
He also used some of the funds on credit card payments, according to Williams, and paid some employees "under the table" while keeping some of the money for himself.
DiCrecchio lent a vendor $180,000, which was paid back to him directly, the complaint said. He also gave money to charities, string bands and people with “tragic health problems” that he read about, including $60,000 on a trip for two families to the Super Bowl, according to a complaint.
DiCrecchio also failed to report $2.1 million in income between 2014 and 2017, according to Williams, as well as a car allowance, a pension allowance, and consulting income that he received from the Market.
"Complexity will not hide crime from law enforcement," Williams said. "Further, and as alleged here, ‘nickel and dime’ theft – skimming small amounts here and there over many years – is just as illegal as stealing one large lump sum. The charges announced today reflect our Office’s commitment to uncovering and prosecuting complicated financial frauds."
He faces two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy, one count of aggravated identity theft, and four counts of tax evasion. If convicted he could serve up to 102 years in prison and a fine of $2.5 million.
The Market opened at its present location in 2011 as " the largest refrigerated building in the world, housing some 700,000 square feet of the world’s freshest produce"