FARMINGTON — The last of six co-defendants pleaded guilty Monday for his involvement in a points scheme that resulted in the theft of more than $100,000 from Gould’s Service Station on U.S. Route 2 in Wilton.

Preston Riley Franklin County Detention Center photo

Between Sept. 4, 2018, and Jan. 1, 2019, when customers at Gould’s station bought propane gas with cash, the six former employees would keep the cash, swipe fraudulent Mobil Exxon Rewards Plus program points cards to get points, which they redeemed for cash, according to Wilton officer Ethan Kyes’ affidavit filed in a Farmington court last year.

Preston Riley, 19, of Wilton pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of theft after he paid $2,000 in restitution.

All six received the same plea deal from the state. Part of the agreement was that they pay restitution in exchange for having a felony charge of theft lowered to a misdemeanor. Restitution was based on their involvement in the scheme.

A conviction for misdemeanor theft is punishable by up to 364 days in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. Conviction for felony theft is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.

They all received unconditional discharges, according to court documents, which means there are no further sanctions.

Co-defendants Scott J. Lavoie, 54, of Wilton paid about $31,000 in restitution and Kevin Farrington, 20, of Jay paid $5,000 last year. Zachary Armstrong, 20, of Wilton paid $10,000 in January. Two 17-year-old boys, one from Jay and the other from Farmington, also had their cases resolved 2019.

Gould’s station owner and manager Paul “Danny” Gould reported to police March 4 that Exxon Mobil contacted him for payment on over $100,000 in fraudulently redeemed Exxon Mobil Rewards Plus points attributed to his store, according to the affidavit.

Gould told Kyes he found four receipts on his computer system that he believed were involved in the fraud, according to the affidavit. Three receipts dated Dec. 24, 2018, were connected to one rewards account, which combined, indicated 409 gallons of propane gas sold for a total of 6 cents. The fourth receipt connected to a second account dated Dec. 31, 2018, showed 333 gallons sold for a total of 4 cents.

At the time, Gould told Kyes, propane sold for $2.759 a gallon.

Kyes traced internet IP addresses that were used to set up some of the rewards plus accounts connected to fraud at Gould’s station. Kyes charged the defendants in August. The adults were indicted in October.


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