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Columbia County man arrested on RICO charge

Posted: December 4, 2013 - 1:02am

A Grovetown man entrusted to serve as the general manager for a contractor was arrested Monday on a racketeering charge.

Christopher J. Pizzi, 52, is suspected of stealing more than $1 million 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 is being held without bond in the Columbia County jail, was the general manager for Gearig Brothers until he was fired last month.

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 treble 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 Columbia County Superior Court civil lawsuit, has appointed a receiver to track and account for all assets Pizzi might have that could be seized if the company wins the suit.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com

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