Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Former MillerCoors executive David Colletti pleaded guilty Wednesday to scamming his ex-employer out of more than $8.6 million, according to a plea deal that calls for prosecutors to recommend he serve 65 months in prison.
In exchange for the reduced sentence, Colletti, 59, who oversaw MillerCoors’ marketing and promotions, will cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of his seven co-defendants, including Andrew Vallozzi, a Florida man who was Colletti’s partner in a failed downtown Waukesha hotel project.
The filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago states Colletti will plead guilty to wire fraud, a crime that carries a recommended sentence of 97 to 121 months in prison, according to non-binding federal sentencing guidelines. Federal prosecutors agreed to recommend that he serve 66% of the minimum guideline recommendation provided that the “government determines that (Colletti) has continued to provide full and truthful cooperation,” the 20-page plea agreement states.
Colletti, of Oconomowoc, will not be sentenced until the “conclusion of his cooperation,” which could include testimony against some or all of his co-defendants, the plea deal states, noting that if he fails to fully cooperate the deal will be voided.
In addition, Colletti agreed to a judgment of $8.6 million against him. He also agreed to forfeit his 2014 Acura MDX and 2009 Acura TL to the government.
Gene Murphy, Colletti’s attorney, noted that if other defendants are convicted they will also likely will be held liable for the judgment.
According to the plea deal, Colletti acknowledged that he “devised a scheme” to create bogus invoices that were submitted to MillerCoors “for specific events or promotions that did not occur as billed or at inflated costs.”
As is common in federal prosecutions, the plea agreement does not identify MillerCoors by name and instead refers to it as the “Victim Company.”
“In total, Colletti submitted and caused to be submitted at least 200 false estimates and invoices to the Victim Company,” the plea deal states. “As a result, the Victim Company paid at least $8,658,302 to at least 15 different third party venders” that were controlled by Vallozzi and the other six co-defendants.
The suit does not impact a $10 million lawsuit filed by MillerCoors against Colletti and about a dozen others in 2014, Murphy said. That lawsuit is pending in Milwaukee County. It also does not impact the settlement of a claim filed by Colletti against MillerCoors in which the ex-executive charged the brewer was withholding pension funds he was entitled to receive. Murphy declined to disclose details, except to say, “I’m not frowning.”
Jonathan Stern, spokesman for MillerCoors, called Colletti’s guilty plea “a step closer to justice being served in this embezzlement case.”