A Dix Hills man who headed a now-bankrupt Syosset food and cigar distribution company has been charged with masterminding a $26 million fraud by falsely inflating the value of his business' bank accounts by $750 million, officials said Friday.
Mair Faibish, 52, the former chief executive of Synergy Brands Inc., was indicted in federal court in Brooklyn on charges of conspiracy, bank fraud and making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission during the operation of a 10-year check-kiting scheme, officials said. The indictment was unsealed Friday.
Faibish pleaded not guilty at his arraignment before Magistrate Viktor Pohorelsky and was released on $1 million bail, according a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, Robert Nardoza. Attorneys for Faibish could not be reached for comment.
Synergy and its subsidiaries manufactured and distributed baking mixes, spices, packaged meals, wholesale groceries and cigars, the indictment said. It filed for bankruptcy in January 2011.
In the check-kiting scheme that ran from 1998 to 2008, Faibish had a total of $750 million in checks, not backed by sufficient funds, sent to subsidiaries in Canada, which deposited them in their bank accounts, said Eastern District U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.
The Canadian businesses then sent checks from those accounts to Synergy's bank accounts, from which Faibish wrote more checks, Lynch said. The main victim of the scheme, Signature Bank, eventually caught on, but not before Faibish had fraudulently withdrawn $26 million, she said.
If convicted, Faibish could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.