A Grovetown man was arrested Monday on a racketeering charge in the theft of more than $1 million from a contractor where he worked as general manager.
Christopher J. Pizzi, 52, is suspected of stealing the money from Gearig Brothers Civil Works, said attorney Andrew Tisdale, who is representing the company in a civil case against Pizzi and the Bank of America.
“Despite the significant loss incurred as a result of Mr. Pizzi’s theft, our company remains financially strong and will continue to provide our clients, suppliers and subcontractors with the same high level of service we have always provided,” a statement from Gearig Brothers reads. The company specializes in site development for residential, commercial and government construction.
Pizzi, who was being held without bond in the Columbia County jail, was fired from Gearig Brothers last month.
According to the civil lawsuit, Pizzi is accused of using two schemes to steal from his employer. In one alleged scheme, Pizzi increased his paychecks without authorization. The other alleged method was more elaborate and involved forgery and fraudulent invoices.
According to the lawsuit, Pizzi deposited third-party checks – Gearig Brothers’ company checks made out to various companies – into his personal account at Bank of America.
Gearig Brothers is seeking compensatory damages from Pizzi and Bank of America. In addition, the company is seeking to triple damages, attorney fees and court costs against Pizzi under the state’s civil racketeering law.
Judge J. Wade Padgett, who is assigned to preside over the civil lawsuit in Columbia County Superior Court, has appointed a receiver to track and account for all assets Pizzi might have that could be seized if the company wins the suit.