California Man Pleads Guilty to $400,000 Fraud Scheme Involving Minnesota-Based Retailer

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A California man has pleaded guilty to wire fraud after defrauding his former employer, a Minnesota-based retailer, of more than $400,000, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, Michael John Gennarelli, 32, of Huntington Beach, California, was employed as a sales consultant and mobile supervisor for Company A, a retail store based in Minnesota. Gennarelli unlawfully accessed Company A’s computer network and obtained sales receipt information for high-dollar-value purchases that were not associated with a “My Rewards” account, Company A’s customer loyalty program. Gennarelli then created numerous fraudulent “My Rewards” accounts, applied the stolen sales receipts information, and claimed the associated “My Rewards” points for the value of such purchases. In total, Gennarelli issued himself approximately $467,307 in “My Rewards” certificates, $393,200 of which he redeemed for merchandise and gift cards in Company A stores and on Company A’s website.

Gennarelli pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Katherine M. Menendez to one count of wire fraud. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later time.  

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Secret Service and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea A. Walcker is prosecuting the case.