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LI man sentenced in vending machine fraud

U.S. Justice Department seal

U.S. Justice Department seal Credit: U.S. Justice Dept.

A Long Island man was sentenced Monday to federal prison on a wire fraud conspiracy charge after he carried out  "a series of fraudulent business opportunity ventures" centered on sales of vending machine routes, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Michael Eisenberg, whose business was conducted at a Lake Avenue address in St. James, on Monday was sentenced in a Miami, Fla., courtroom to 28 months in prison after pleading guilty to the charge, the Justice  Department said in a Tuesday news release. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Joan A. Leonard, of the Florida Southern District .

Eisenberg committed the federal wire fraud crime by using a telephone to make an interstate call to a Miami man, and by making false statements to the investor, prosecutors said. His companies were Atomic Vending and Energy Vend, which also had addresses in Holtsville and in Deer Park.

The Justice Department did not say whether Eisenberg used the vending machine sales pitch to dupe Long Island residents, as well.

"As an owner and salesman for Atomic Vending and Energy Vend from March 2008 to March 2010 . . .  [he] sold business opportunities to the public for a minimum price of approximately $6,000," the Justice Department said. 

Investors were promised lucrative vending routes generating large profits, and said "locating companies" would find them high-traffic locations for their machines. 

"In reality, as the government alleged, buyers earned little to no money from their investments," the department said. 

Eisenberg's prison sentence was extended, the judge said, because he had previously been subject to a court order, filed in 2008 in the Eastern District of New York, barring him from misrepresenting business opportunities. In that case, Eisenberg had duped investors through a company calledLifestyle Vending, based in Woodbury. 

“Fraud schemes like this one target consumers who are trying to start a small business and earn an honest living,” Tony West, assistant attorney general for the civil division of the Department of Justice, said in the news release.

Eisenberg “not only misled investors about business opportunities; he continued to defraud people after being ordered by a court to stop. We believe the judge appropriately took this behavior into account when issuing her sentence," West said.

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