Mitchell E Mosallem (59), a former executive vice president at Grey Worldwide’s New York office, entered a guilty plea on Tuesday at a federal court in Manhattan. His surprise change of heart referred to eleven counts of antitrust, mail fraud, bid-rigging and tax evasion charges.
Mossalem, who previously denied his guilt, had been scheduled to stand trial next week. He quit Grey in December 2001 amid a torrent of allegations and now faces between 63 and 78 months in prison under a plea agreement awaiting court approval.
Also hanging over Mossalem’s head are fines ranging between $130,000 (€120,850; £83,774) and $650,000 plus penalties to be determined on amounts he is likely to owe the IRS after filing amended federal tax returns.
Also involved in the scandal – described by the prosecution as a bid-rigging scheme designed to defraud Grey clients – are forty-nine others, among them former Color Wheel ceo Haluk Ergulec, who pled guilty to similar charges last month and was sentenced to 37 months in prison plus $1.5 million in restitution.
Although Grey would make no comment on Mossalem’s change of plea, a spokesperson confirmed the agency is continuing to cooperate with investigators. Three of Mossalem’s co-defendants still await trial.
Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff