Henry Centrella Will Not Be able to Collect His Pension
Henry Centrella will no longer be eligible to collect his pension after agreeing to a stipulation with state Attorney General George Jepsen that will terminate it, according to Jepsen.
Centrella began his career at the town hall as a management analyst before progressing to finance director. According to allegations of financial misconduct against him, Centrella stole money allegedly embezzling funds to cover gambling losses and pay his mistress living in Florida.
Early Life and Education
Centrella was an integral member of Winsted, a small town with less than 18,000 people, where he was well known and trusted by both residents and town employees alike. When selectmen and town employees struggled with finding ways to pay bills, he often provided answers.
Auditors identified discrepancies in town records in 2012, prompting auditors to contact state police. State detective Michael Fitzsimmons conducted interviews at town hall and searched Centrella’s Gilbert Avenue home, finding deposit slips and gambling records.
State police report that he often visited Mohegan Sun, flashing cash and becoming known as a high roller. His spending money funded gambling addiction as well as lavish gifts for his mistress in Florida.
Winsted was taken aback when they learned of Henry Centrella’s alleged embezzlement by the extent of his double life. According to reports, Centrella was carrying on an affair with a Florida woman he would often visit at Mohegan Sun and even prepaying her wedding costs, according to a police warrant.
Centerlla then initiated his scheme of fraud, according to his arrest affidavit, by inflating his W-2 withholding amounts and filing for and receiving state and federal tax refunds.
After auditors discovered Centrella’s scheme, they started asking him questions. Unfortunately, despite having a superb personnel file and numerous positive evaluations from his prior managers, he began dodging questions and eventually waived his right to a pre-termination hearing before being fired.
Achievement and Honors
At last, he was sentenced to 11 years for his crimes as Winsted Finance Director for 35 years – during which time his theft drained an astounding $2 Million from Winsted coffers.
State’s attorney David Shepack presented Centrella’s crimes at his sentencing hearing and their impact on his hometown of Rockaway Beach. Shepack stated, “This man stole more in weeks or days than some employees make in an entire year,” said Shepack.
Centrella also exploited his position to defraud Winsted residents by diverting tax payments for gambling purposes and purchasing gifts for his mistress in Florida, while misappropriating tax dollars. Winsted remains in debt due to this behavior of Centrella; currently he’s serving time at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution near Suffield.
Before his arrest in August on five counts of first-degree larceny, Henry Centrella had an impeccable employment history and enjoyed trust from both elected officials and staff in Winsted, Connecticut. Additionally, he held full control of their finances.
A 58-year-old who worked for the town for 30 years is accused of stealing $2.3 million between 2008 and 2012 to fund gambling habits and lavish gifts for his mistress in Florida, using funds transferred from other accounts within town to cover any unauthorized expenditure. An arrest warrant states this practice caused considerable financial loss for the municipality.
Centerlla explained to his mistress when asked about his large sums of cash that some came from selling 88 acres to Disney and investing in Google stock; while using the rest for personal expenses or buying her a wedding gown.
Henry Centrella had been the long-serving finance director for Winchester, a small community in southwestern Connecticut. However, an audit uncovered $2 Million that had gone missing and led to Centrella being arrested on larceny charges; after which he was fired.
He is accused of taking money from tax withholdings and accounts receivable checks and placing it into sealed plastic bags at his home on Gilbert Avenue in Philadelphia. Police suspect he then supplemented this cash with checks from the tax office before sealing both bags with tape.
The town is seeking damages of $7.5 million and has reached a prejudgment remedy agreement with Centrella to halt his assets and require him to produce financial documents, in addition to protecting him from repossession or garnishment by the town.