By Torsten Ove, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)
The owner of Katie’s Kandy in Pittsburgh admitted in federal court last week that he stole nearly $7 million from Hillandale Farms, a national egg marketer based in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
Jonathan Weston, 58, of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty Aug. 23 to conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money and tax evasion and became a federal felon.
Weston, a former Hillandale Farms accountant, engaged in the scheme with his late secretary and accountant – known in court records only as the VP – to steal $6.8 million from the company, then the launder through various businesses they controlled to buy luxury cars, real estate, dinners, trips, clothes and the like.
Weston had been charged in 2021. VP died in 2019.
Prosecutors said Weston, alone or through his company, Cougar Holdings, purchased five high-end cars, including an Aston Martin convertible, and a condo at Gateway Towers. He also used the stolen money to operate several car washes and Katie’s Kandy stores he owned.
VP used the money to buy a 1933 Ford Model 40 Coupe, a three-wheeler, a pontoon boat, and a wave runner. She also racked up thousands of dollars in credit card expenses and took trips across the United States.
Weston also lied on his tax returns. Between 2013 and 2018, he either failed to file a return or filed false returns in which he failed to account for stolen income. Regarding count 5 of the indictment, misrepresentation of income, he admitted to underreporting $566,000 in stolen income.
During those years, the IRS Criminal Division determined he owed nearly $1.2 million in taxes, which included money stolen from Hillandale.
U.S. District Judge W. Scott Hardy set the sentence for January.
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