A Plainview man who federal prosecutors said inflated the financial profile of a Florida-based cosmetics firm to secure millions of dollars in loans has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, an offense punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Marc Wieselthier, 57, a certified public accountant and partner at a New York accounting firm, admitted to embellishing the credentials of the company in audits provided to commercial banks from which the cosmetics firm sought and secured loans, prosecutors said. He pleaded guilty Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Prosecutors said Wieselthier overstated the value of the company, which they did not name, from 2007 through March 2014, the point when the company defaulted on loans with an outstanding balance of nearly $5 million.
Neither Wieselthier nor his attorney could be reached for comment.
"As a part of the scheme, on an annual basis, Wieselthier knowingly issued unqualified audit reports known as 'clean opinions' falsely certifying that the Company's financial statements fairly, and in all material respects, reflected the true financial condition of the Company and were in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles," prosecutors said in a news release about the plea.
"At the time that Wieselthier issued those 'clean opinions,' Wieselthier knew that the Company's financial statements falsely overstated the Company's accounts receivable and understood that the Banks would rely upon those false financial statements in loaning money to the Company," the statement continued. "Wieselthier hid his accounting work for the Company from his own partners and associates in an apparent effort to conceal the fraud."
Wieselthier is scheduled to be sentenced March 23 before U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office said other defendants include Emanuel Cohen, 71, of Boca Raton, Florida, the company's former chief executive; and Thomas Thompson, 42, of Coral Springs, Florida, the company's former sales manager. Both of them have pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced by Kaplan March 2 and Feb. 17, respectively.