Former Plymouth Finance Director Arrested, Charged with Embezzling More Than $800k
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that DAVID J. BERTNAGEL, 41, of Thomaston, was arrested today on a federal criminal complaint charging him with embezzling more than $800,000 from the Town of Plymouth.
BERTNAGEL was arrested this morning at his residence. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford and was released on a $250,000 bond.
According to the criminal complaint, from July 2014 to October 2014, BERTNAGEL was employed as the Finance Director for the Town of Plymouth. For approximately six years prior to that time he was a part-time employee in the Town’s Finance Department. From approximately October 2011 through October 2014, it is alleged that BERTNAGEL issued 207 checks totaling approximately $808,030 from the Town’s payroll account to himself. BERTNAGEL used the embezzled funds to make mortgage payments, pay credit card bills, fund home improvement projects and purchase more than $100,000 in coins, stamps and other collectibles. He also converted more than $182,000 of the stolen funds by way of cashed checks, ATM withdrawals and money orders.
The complaint also alleges that BERTNAGEL did not file a tax return with the Internal Revenue Service for the 2011 tax year and, although he did file tax returns for the 2012 and 2013 tax years, he failed to report any of his embezzled income.
Since 2011, Plymouth has received approximately $450,000 in grant awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The criminal complaint charges BERTNAGEL with theft from a local government receiving federal funds, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—Office of Inspector General and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher M. Mattei.