By ASHLEY HELMS
Gregg Pierleoni, the former chief financial officer of Larchmont-based Collins Brothers Moving, was indicted on two felony charges in the United States District Court in White Plains on Jan. 2. He is accused of engaging in mail and wire fraud to support an extravagant lifestyle and lavish purchases including collectible coins and valuable pieces of artwork.
Pierleoni, 59, of New Fairfield, Conn., allegedly embezzled nearly $6 million from 2006 to April 2013, when he left Collins Brothers after 26 years, by transferring funds from their operating account to other accounts held by the company. He is facing up to 40 years in prison if he is convicted.
Pierleoni is said to have used the funds to pay for $70,000 worth of Thomas Kinkade artwork, sports memorabilia, more than $500,000 in coins from the New York Mint and more than $40,000 in jewelry, according to United States Southern District of New York court documents complaint. He also allegedly used the company’s funds to pay for his Connecticut income and property taxes.
According to court documents, Pierleoni is said to have written out company checks and sent them through the mail to a post office box in Newark, N.J., to pay for his personal American Express credit card bill.
In July 2013, Pierleoni was interviewed by FBI Special Agent Caroline Gilmore and, according to court documents, told Gilmore he started using company funds to pay for personal expenses charged to his American Express card two years ago and only took about $500,000 in Collins Brothers’ funds.
Gilmore met with Pierleoni again on Oct. 7, 2013 at his home in order to take inventory of the coins and artwork Pierleoni had in his possession. By that time, he sold the New York Mint coins to someone in Massachusetts for $100,000, according to court documents, and his wife had also sold all but one piece of the Thomas Kinkade artwork by the time of the interview.
Pierleoni was taken into police custody Oct. 16. 2013.
A former employee of Collins Brothers told the Mamaroneck Review that Pierleoni was responsible for employee payroll and transferring company money, among other financial duties while employed with the moving company.
Collins Brothers owns other smaller entities, including a warehouse in Brewster and a moving and storage company in Virginia.
Pierleoni was asked to either step down or leave the company in April 2013 due to poor performance, the source said, and, within two weeks of the company hiring a new financial officer, Pierleoni’s alleged thefts started to come to the surface.
“I was in shock [when I heard about his charges],” the source said. “He was just a regular guy; four kids, a wife, who would know?”
The source described Pierleoni as a “quiet, mild mannered person” who didn’t have issues with anyone at the company. Collin Brothers’ staff noticed Pierleoni and his family were living comfortably, but the source said they didn’t know his salary and figured his wife had come from a wealthy family.
Regarding the charges, the source wasn’t sure what would push Pierleoni to allegedly embezzle so much money from the company.
“Sometimes you start small and you want something and sometimes you get greedy,” the source said. “Maybe he couldn’t stop.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney James McMahon at the United States District Court in White Plains is handling the case.