The convictions arise out of an ongoing federal probe of bid-rigging, commercial bribery and tax-related offenses in the marketing communications industry.
Gabriel Casas, a former salesman at Manhattan-based graphic services firm The Color Wheel, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of antitrust conspiracy. Sentencing is set for Jan. 10, 2003.
Howard Marlin, owner and chief executive of Caysun Graphics, New York, a brokerage of printing and other services, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit tax fraud. No sentencing date for Mr. Marlin has been set.
Bertram Cohen, owner of Darbert Offset Corp., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of
Ivan Glick, a print broker who pled guilty in March to charges of conspiring to defraud the U.S., tax evasion and antitrust violation, is connected to parties involved in each of the cases.
Mr. Glick, a longtime independent broker, primarily represented Color Wheel, which was also Mr. Casas' employer. Mr. Glick, according to court documents, was involved in a kickback scheme in which he and co-conspirators arranged for firms Mr. Glick represented to receive business from Manhattan advertising agency Impact Communications in exchange for contracts. Impact Communications was the client of firms owned and operated by Mr. Cohen and Mr. Marlin. Mr. Glick is described in court papers as Mr. Marlin's co-conspirator.
Haluk Ergulec and Birj Deckmejian
Court documents filed last week in Southern District Court of New York related to Mr. Casas' case describe a scheme in which two of Mr. Casas' former colleagues -- Color Wheel owner Haluk Ergulec and Birj Deckmejian, a Color Wheel salesman -- were involved.
Also described as a participant was Mitchell Mosallem, former executive vice president and director of graphic services at Grey Global Group's Grey Advertising, which was a longtime Color Wheel client.
For instance, according to court documents, Mr. Ergulec and Mr. Mosallem instructed Mr. Casas to track the amounts of charges added to various line items on invoices sent to Color Wheel clients. Mr. Mosallem, say the documents, also told Grey employee Joseph Panaccione (who has not been charged for any criminal behavior by federal authorities) to work with Mr. Casas in identifying jobs to which amounts could be added. Also, say the court papers, Mr. Casas "periodically showed the lists to Mosallem, Ergulec, and Deckmejian and updated them on the status of the monies owed scheme."
The money accrued from the inflated invoices was used, according to court papers, to recoup the costs of three specific types of expenses. These include "tickets to theater, sporting and cultural events either Color Wheel or Mr. Deckmejian had provided for the personal benefit of Mr. Mosallem, Mr. Panaccione, and other senior employees and executives of Grey, and members of their families" as well as the cost of goods and services Color Wheel had provided for the benefit of Mr. Mosallem, Mr. Panaccione, and other senior employees and executives of Grey and members of their families. These include printing of "graphics items such as wedding invitations, holiday cards, brochures, family and other personal photographs." Finally, the increases covered charges for work Color Wheel had done on earlier jobs, frequently for a variety of Grey clients, for which it had not been fully paid.
Messrs. Deckmejian and Ergulec were indicted by a federal grand jury in May on charges of conspiring to defraud certain Grey clients in a phony billing scheme from 1991 until July 2000.
Mr. Mosallem was indicted in May by a federal grand jury for conspiring to rig bids and allocate contracts for the supply of retouching and separation services purchased by Grey on behalf of one of its clients from late 1994 until 2001. On Sept. 17, a federal grand jury added nine additional tax and fraud charges to his case.
All three men have pleaded not guilty.