Attorney General Beau Biden announced today that his office has arrested two men for Theft and Conspiracy in a bid to defraud AstraZeneca. An investigation by the Attorney General's Special Investigations Unit revealed that Mitchell Guard, age 45, a Project Engineer for AstraZeneca's Fairfax location, and David Ragolia, age 55, a foreman for the DiSabatino Construction Company and site manager for its activities at the AstraZeneca Fairfax location, conspired in a scheme to complete extensive home improvements at Guard's Hockessin home and to charge the work to AstraZeneca.
"Stealing is a crime with damaging consequences, whether the victim is an individual or a company, and we're acting to ensure that everyone obeys the law," Biden said.
The Attorney General's Office opened its investigation after receiving a report last year from AstraZeneca of questionable financial transactions. During the time period during which the fraud was committed, DiSabatino Construction company and AstraZeneca had entered into a Master Services Agreement under which DiSabatino was the sole source contractor for construction activities at the AstraZeneca Fairfax campus. Under this arrangement, Guard initiated construction projects on-site through Ragolia, who assigned the work to DeSabatino employees and sub-contractors.
The investigation revealed that Ragolia, of Bear, instructed DiSabatino employees and other sub-contractors to make significant home improvements to Guard's residence over a period of time, and that DiSabatino employees and sub-contractors were assigned to work full-time at the residence from March, 2010 through July, 2010 to complete the work. The home improvements included a kitchen renovation, the addition of a sunroom and 3-car garage, basement finishing, installation of new siding and windows, painting, and the purchase and installation of an HVAC unit, appliances, and bath fixtures.
Upon the completion of their work to the Guard residence, investigators learned that Ragolia directed subcontractors to submit their receipts and invoices to DiSabatino Construction Company. The investigation also revealed that Ragolia, in turn, submitted invoices for the materials and the labor that was performed at Guard's residence to AstraZeneca. In total, more than $400,000 in improvements performed at Guard's residence were fraudulently billed to and ultimately paid by the pharmaceutical manufacturer before the scam was discovered.
As a result of the investigation, arrest warrants were issued charging both men with one count of Theft of more than $100,000 and Conspiracy. Both defendants turned themselves in to Special Investigators in the Attorney General's Office on Friday, February 22. After being arraigned in JP Court #20, both men were released on $6,000 unsecured bond.