Penn Hotel Employees Charged in Kickback Scheme

Feds say defendants conspired to bilk $3 million from hotel, mostly through vendors.

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Two employees of the Sheraton University City Hotel have been charged in a kickback scheme that feds say netted them up to $3 million in ill-gotten profits.

Kenneth Kapikian, 57, and Dennis Gagliardi, 60, served as general manager and chief engineer, respectively, of the hotel, which is owned by the University of Pennsylvania. They were each charged with seven counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Between 2009 and 2013, prosecutors say, the pair “instructed vendors who provided services to the hotel to fraudulently inflate service invoices by as high as 20 percent for services rendered.” Starting a year earlier, the two also allegedly submitted invoices to the hotel through their company, Cold Wash Zone, for services that were never rendered.

The amount of money derived from the scheme includes “but is not limited to” $3.039 million,” the indictment said.

Prosecutors said that, if convicted, “each defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 160 years in prison, a three-year period of supervised release, a fine of up to $500,000, and an $800 special assessment.”