Rhode Island man pleads guilty in seafood fraud case
Rhode Island resident Paul Diogenes, also known as Paul Dejullio, pleaded guilty to defrauding several U.S. food distributors out of nearly USD 1 million (EUR 883,000) in seafood and premium meat purchases.
Diogenes 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 734,000) 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.
On 17 December, Diogenes pled guilty in federal court to charges of wire fraud and assault of a federal officer, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island press release.
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 task force 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 88,000), 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.
Diogenes is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell Jr. on 29 March, 2022.
Photo courtesy of City of Fall River Police Department