Lee County Pays $95K to ‘Travel Detective’ to Promote Tourism: An ex-accountant has admitted guilt to charges stemming from a $6.8 million embezzlement scheme that funded a lifestyle that included pricey real estate and vehicles. According to a recent US Attorney’s Office news release, Canonsburg resident Jonathan Weston, 58, admitted guilt to federal counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to commit tax fraud.
He will be given a sentence on January 3, 2023, and could receive a maximum of 58 years in prison and a fine of about $2.5 million. The precise sentence will depend on the gravity of his offenses and any prior criminal activity. Weston, his secretary, and the business bookkeeper stole about $6.8 million from Hillandale Farms between October 2005 and January 2019 and used that money to buy cars and real estate, according to evidence presented to the court. Hillandale Farms is located in Greensburg, which is also close to Pittsburgh.
Weston bought a 2013 Honda Pilot SUV, a 2003 Lexus SC convertible, a 2010 Lexus LX5 SUV, a 2008 Aston Martin Vantage convertible, a 2013 Lexus GX6 SUV, and a condo in the Gateway Towers in downtown Pittsburgh (either personally or through his company Cougar Holdings). In addition, he spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars” running the Katie’s Kandy businesses and the several car washes he owned.
A vintage 1933 Ford Model 40 coupe, a 2013 Morgan 3-wheeler, a 2010 Bennington Pontoon boat, a 2014 Yamaha wave runner with trailers, and thousands of dollars in credit card charges are among the items the company bookkeeper is accused of having purchased with stolen money. In 2019, the company bookkeeper passed away.
In addition to the theft, Weston filed false federal personal income tax returns from 2013 through 2018 or failed to file them at all. He underreported stolen money of $566,000 in total. In total, Weston owes the Internal Revenue Service close to $1.2 million.
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