US Attorney Trini E. Ross announced that Thomas Mann, 74, of Addison, New York, who was convicted of wire fraud, was sentenced to 24 months in prison by Chief District Judge Elizabeth A Wolford.
Mann was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $273,571. Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Field, who handled the case, said the Transport Investment Club (TIC), which had about 25 investor members, was established in 1958 in Wellsboro. Mann, a well-known high school math teacher and longtime friend to most TIC members, was elected TIC Treasurer in 1994.
Mann’s duties included raising and disbursing funds, buying and selling stocks as directed by TIC and its members, maintaining a set of books covering operations and assets, and preparing a monthly statement documenting the liquidation value of the club, which was the total value of the club’s stock. assets.
Mann had sole control of the TIC bank account at Citizens and Northern Bank (C&N Bank) and the TIC investment accounts at the brokerage firms. Funds raised at TIC’s monthly meetings were supposed to be used to purchase shares in TIC’s investment accounts as directed by club members.
Over the years, Mann has regularly diverted funds from TIC for his personal use rather than investing the funds.
As of February 2020, TIC’s investments should have been worth approximately $290,614.05. In reality, Mann had embezzled all but $708 of TIC’s stock holdings. For more than a decade, Mann routinely provided TIC members with fraudulent liquidation statements, which misrepresented the true values of TIC’s purported investments. As one victim said: “Mann’s soulless duplicity and clear cunning fooled us all.”
The conviction is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Stephen Belongia.