The former co-owners of New England Equipment Company (NEECO, Inc.) pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and three counts of wire fraud in United States District Court in Springfield. In doing so, Aaron Peabody, 42, and Gary Como, 49, admitted to participating in schemes that resulted in losses of more than $1 million.
Prosecutors charge that between 2006 and 2010, the two men used the names of NEECO’s customers to obtain several fraudulent loans. Peabody and Como have also been charged with leasing wood chipping machines and then selling the equipment, which they did not own, to their customers.
To give two banks the impression that their company had more money than it did, Peabody and Como engaged in check-kiting through a rapid series of deposits and withdrawals. According to United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz, one bank lost over $138,000 when the other bank stopped honoring NEECO’s checks.
Attorney Ortiz included that the men also obtained money by taking wood chipping equipment on consignment from NEECO’s customers and falsely promising to pay back the customer’s loan once it sold. Peabody and Como would then keep the sale proceeds and leave the customer liable for the loan after the machine was sold on consignment.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled by United States District Judge Michael A. Ponsor for April 10, 2014. Aaron Peabody and Garry Como face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine on each count of federal wire fraud.