The former Grey Worldwide vp at the centre of a bid-rigging and overbilling scandal has been sentenced to seventy months in prison.
Mitch Mosallem, quondam director of graphic services at Grey New York, dramatically changed his plea to guilty in April [WAMN: 09-Apr-03]. He had been charged with eleven counts of antitrust, mail fraud, bid-rigging and tax evasion.
The erstwhile Grey exec took part in a bid-rigging scheme to defraud the agency's clients. Also involved were salesmen from print production house The Color Wheel, whose one-time boss Haluk Ergulec has already been sentenced to 37 months behind bars.
Mosallem's prison sentence is the median term of the 63-78 months arranged under a plea agreement. In addition, he must pay back $247,000 (€210,014; £146,315) from a total of $1.3 million in kickbacks he and others accepted between 1991 and 2000.
"I wish I could turn back the clock and make this nightmare disappear and erase the misery I've caused to my family, friends and colleagues," Mosallem told the court.
In setting the sentence, judge Thomas Griesa took into account a previous conviction for bid-rigging dating back to 1983, when Mosallem worked for ad agency AC&R.
The court cases against those involved in the scandal have now all been heard. One-time Color Wheel salesman Birj Deckmejian was recently found guilty on one charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and awaits sentencing. However, John Steinmetz, who formerly worked under Mosallem at Grey as associate director for graphic services, was acquitted earlier this month.
The Department of Justice is still investigating the print production industry. Rumour has it that, with the Color Wheel/Grey cases nearly complete, federal prosecutors will in the new year issue a fresh set of indictments against other companies.
Data sourced from: AdWeek.com; additional content by WARC staff