WILTON — Six employees or former employees of Gould’s Service Station on Route 2 face charges involving a scheme to fraudulently redeem Mobil Exxon Rewards Plus program points that resulted in the theft of more than $100,000.

Zachary Armstrong Courtesy photo Franklin County Detention Center

Zachary M. Armstrong, 19, Scott J. Lavioe, 53, and Preston R. Riley, 18, all of Wilton, were arrested Tuesday by Wilton police officer Ethan Kyes on warrants charging theft by unauthorized taking or transfer. Bail was set at $200 for each.

An arrest warrant has been issued for a fourth adult, and two juveniles are also facing charges, according to Wilton Police Chief Heidi Wilcox.

According to Kyes, when customers bought propane gas with cash, some employees or former employees would keep the cash, swipe fraudulent rewards cards to get points and redeem the points for cash.

Station owner/manager Paul “Danny” Gould reported March 4 that Exxon Mobil had contacted him for payment on over $100,000 in fraudulently redeemed Exxon Mobil Rewards Plus points attributed to his store, according to Kyes’ affidavit filed with a Farmington court.

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 showed 333 gallons sold for a total of 4 cents.

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

Scott Lavoie Courtesy photo Franklin County Detention Center

A representative of a petroleum products company told Kyes that Gould’s station was showing a larger sale of product to acquire points in the rewards program than his largest gas station in New York.

Kyes said Exxon Mobile sent a spreadsheet with internet IP addresses that were used to set up some of the rewards plus accounts connected to fraud at Gould’s station.

One of the IP addresses was traced to a 17-year-old who was employed at Gould’s. According to the affidavit, the teen told Kyes, Armstrong was the ringleader of the scheme. The teen said Armstrong paid him between $2,000 and $3,000 in cash to create rewards accounts and he created about 100 cards.

Preston Riley Courtesy photo Franklin County Detention Center

The teen also told Kyes that other employees would come in when he was working and would complete fraudulent transactions using the rewards cards, according to the affidavit.

A 16-year-old boy told Kyes that Armstrong showed him how to use the rewards cards fraudulently, according to the affidavit.

Armstrong told Kyes he received about $22,000 from the cards, but it might have been closer to $30,000. Armstrong said Lavoie took about the same amount of money, according to the affidavit. Armstrong said four others took between $1,000 and $15,000.

The investigation is continuing, Kyes said.

A conviction for theft is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.


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