Join the mailing list to receive AOS Press Releases.Subscribe Now
Fourth Individual Convicted in Case Involving Scheme to Profit from Air Purifier Sales to Carrollton Exempted Village Schools
For Immediate Release
COLUMBUS – A fourth individual involved in a scheme to profit from the sale of air purifiers to Carrollton Exempted Village Schools has admitted his role in the crime.
Gus Nickolas pleaded guilty on Thursday, Aug. 24, to a felony count of theft, prior to a scheduled jury trial in Carroll County Common Pleas Court. As part of a plea deal, he was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and 36 months of community control, with a potential prison sentence of up to 12 months if he violates terms of the sentence.
Nickolas’ plea concludes a case involving four people. Earlier, former Carrollton Exempted Schools Superintendent David Quattrochi, former school board member Michael Pozderac, and former teacher Mary “Jackie” Pozderac admitted using shell companies to sell air purifiers to the school district, pocketing the resulting profits.
The Auditor of State’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) determined the Pozderacs, Quattrochi and Nickolas used two shell companies, The Phoenix Rising and Pozitively Quality Air, to sell air purifiers totaling $70,450 to the school district. The purifiers were purchased for $540 each, then sold to the district for between $1,199 and $1,499. The four divided the resulting profits among themselves while attempting to hide their involvement from the district.
SIU attorneys served as special prosecutors in the case.
Quattrochi pleaded guilty to a single count of theft in office, a fourth-degree felony. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 18 months in state prison, though the latter was stayed. Additionally, he was fined $1,000 and given three years of probation.
Michael Pozderac pleaded guilty to a single count of theft in office, a third-degree felony. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 36 months in prison, the latter also stayed. Additionally, he was fined $1,500 plus court costs, ordered to complete 50 hours of community service, and given three years of probation.
Mary “Jackie” Pozderac pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of having an unlawful interest in a public contract. She received a 180-day stayed jail sentence and was ordered to complete 50 hours of community service.
The three also paid $69,165 in restitution and $4,510 for their share of the audit costs.
Since 2019, the Special Investigations Unit has assisted in 116 convictions resulting in more than $8.2 million in restitution (see?Map of SIU Convictions?since January 2019). The team receives hundreds of tips of suspected fraud annually. Tips can be submitted anonymously online or via SIU’s fraud hotline at 866-FRAUD-OH (866-372-8364).
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.