Seafood fraudster targeted US Foods, other distributors and restaurants

Published on
August 18, 2021
A patrol operated by the Fall River Police Department in Fall River, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

A man in the U.S. state of Rhode Island has been accussed of bilking nearly USD 1 million (EUR 855,000) from major broadliners in the U.S. by fraudently purchasing seafood from them.

Paul Diogenes, also known as Paul Dejullio, created a fictitious catering company – LePage Catering – in order to obtain credit from US Foods, Performance Food Group, and other distributors to purchase more than USD 831,700 (EUR 711,000) in product. Diogenes bought hundreds of thousands of dollars of lobster, sea bass, shrimp, scallops, filet, ribeye steak, and wild boar, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island.

Diogenes used stolen identities and banking information from several local businesses and restaurants to obtain funds to pay for some of the meat and seafood. Diogenes then resold much of the fraudulently obtained food products – in some instances to the same businesses whose banking information he allegedly used to pay food suppliers, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Among the victims of Diogenes’s scheme were: Reinhart Food Service, Digger’s Catch Seafood Market, Capriccio’s Restaurant, Mare restaurant, and Riviera restaurant, the complaint filed in federal court said.

Dejullio eluded arrest by ramming federal law enforcement vehicles, nearly running down an FBI agent and major crimes taskforce officer in the process, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He was ordered detained in federal custody on 16 August on charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and felony assault of a federal officer.

Diogenes, who was believed to be carrying more than USD 100,000 (EUR 85,000), remained a fugitive for nine days, allegedly moving from one hotel to the next using various false names. He was apprehended at a hotel in Middleborough, Massachusetts.  

Photo courtesy of Shebeko/Shutterstock

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