According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Joseph Ungar, CEO of ABEC Industries, Inc., pleaded guilty yesterday to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree in New York County Supreme Court after an investigation revealed he had sold knock off industrial parts to the MTA. Mr. Unger also pleaded guilty to a crime related to his failure to properly pay taxes associated with his business. The ABEC Industries, Inc. also pleaded guilty to Identity Theft and Trademark Counterfeiting.
As a result of Mr. Ungar’s plea, he will make full restitution of over $125,000 for the scheme. Additionally, he will be given a lifetime debarment from doing business with the MTA and serve five-years of probation. Mr. Unger must also pay over $200,000 in back taxes. If Mr. Unger fails to comply with the terms of his plea he will not be sentenced to probation, but instead could receive two to six years in state prison.
Between 2003 to 2008, Mr. Ungar fraudulently portrayed himself and his business as another person and another firm because of his alleged past ethical and professional lapses associated with his business. As a result, the MTA was duped into agreeing to contracts while unaware it was in fact Mr. Ungar. Mr. Ungar then supplied knock-off and counterfeit parts for MTA buses and subways. These parts were not American made, but made in China.
Beyond the crimes committed by Mr. Ungar, this case is even more interesting because the corporation pleaded guilty to a crime as well. More specifically, the top crime the corporation pleaded guilty to was Identity Theft for assuming the identity of another corporation or firm. While not common, this type of prosecution will likely gain steam where individuals and their corporations perpetrate frauds while assuming the identity of anther firm. As a result of ABEC’s crimes, the company will cease operations and dissolve.