LATEST GUILTY PLEA IN PRINT AD SCANDAL

John Chessa Admits to Two Counts Mail Fraud

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- John Chessa, the co-owner of a New York City printing brokerage, pleaded guilty today to two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

The charges, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, stem from Mr. Chessa's involvement in two separate schemes to defraud clients of Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, according to court papers.

Federal investigation
Mr. Chessa is the seventh

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person to plead guilty in the case revolving around Grey, which is at the center of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation of bid-rigging, bribery, fraud and tax-related offenses in the advertising, printing and graphic industries.

In one scheme, Mr. Chessa and several co-conspirators, including Joseph Panaccione, a former Grey vice president and manager of graphic services, inflated invoices for work performed on behalf of Grey clients. The fraudulent invoices were sent though the U.S. mail. In the other scheme, according to court documents, Mr. Chessa paid Mr. Panaccione "kickbacks in cash and checks" worth almost $47,000. The money was paid to ensure that Mr. Chessa's company was on Grey's list of approved vendors and also to be awarded business.

Mr. Panaccione pleaded guilty Oct. 1 to two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

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