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Trumbull Accountant Indicted in Property Management Fraud

Account faces maximum of 20 years in prison for role in "rent rolls" fraud.

The Trumbull accountant for a Monroe property management company, ACT Builders, Inc., was indicted Wednesday on charges of conspiring to defraud property owners.

According to the indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, 54-year-old Trumbull resident Thomas Ragonese conspired with ACT owner Anthony Testo, 66, of Monroe, to falsify collection records and skim money.

Testo was hired by a Bridgeport-based residential property owner to manage an apartment complex and several single- and multi-family homes.

As part of his duties, Testo was charged with maintaining a monthly “rent roll” spreadsheet detailing all the rental units, amount due and payments collected and deposited. Ragonese assisted Testo with the bookkeeping, including preparing the rent rolls.

The indictment alleges, between January 2007 and August 2010, Testo and Ragonese falsified the records, labeling occupied units as vacant and siphoning off the rent collected.

Testo and Ragonese are suspected of underreporting the amount of rent due and keeping the difference.

The indictment also alleges that Ragonese maintained a second set of records in which he kept track of the rental income actually due and collected, which was more than the rental income reported on the rent rolls.

Testo, Ragonese and ACT Builders are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  

Testo was arrested and arraigned Thursday morning and released on $500,000 under electronic home confinement.

Ragonese was arrested in February on a criminal complaint and was arraigned on the fraud charges Thursday. He was released on $250,000 bond

If convicted, Testo and Ragonese each face a maximum term of 20 years in prison. ACT Builders faces a maximum of 5 years probation.

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