A Columbia County judge agreed to release a Grovetown man accused of bilking more than $1 million from his employer.
At a Tuesday hearing in Evans, Magistrate Judge Bobby Christine allowed Christopher Joseph Pizzi, 52, to be released from jail on his own recognizance and be monitored by GPS. The bond requires no cash or property.
Pizzi, who is charged with racketeering, is accused of stealing more than $1 million from Gearig Brothers Civil Works. The company specializes in site development for residential, commercial and government construction.
Pizzi is a codefendant with Bank of America in an ongoing civil case. A prosecutor said Gearig Brothers officials want Pizzi released so he can earn restitution money.
He has been held in the Columbia County Detention Center without bond since his Dec. 2 arrest.
Pizzi was the general manager for Gearig Brothers until he was fired last month. He 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 civil 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.
Pizzi’s property has been turned over to a receiver to track and account for all Pizzi’s assets that could be seized and liquidated if the company wins. None of that property could be used as bond collateral.