A partner at a New York CPA firm has pleaded guilty to participating in a multimillion-dollar accounting fraud scheme.
Marc Wieselthier, 57, a shareholder of Curcio, Wieselthier & Cohen CPAs, pleaded guilty Wednesday to participating in a scheme to obtain millions of dollars in loans by making false statements and providing false and fraudulent documents to two unidentified commercial banks in New York concerning the financial condition of an unidentified Florida-based cosmetics company that was one of Wieselthier’s clients.
Wieselthier, a licensed CPA in Plainview, N.Y., has been a partner at the firm since 2009. The cosmetics company and its CEO were clients of Wieselthier, who performed, among other things, year-end audits of financial statements for the company.
According to prosecutors, from 2007 through 2014, the cosmetics company’s executives persuaded the banks to lend them millions of dollars by repeatedly making false and misleading statements about their company’s financial condition. The company inflated its sales and accounts receivable on “borrowing base certificates” and in financial statements audited by Wieselthier, which were provided to the banks according to loan agreements between the banks and the company. The company used the falsely inflated sales and accounts receivable to mislead the banks about the company’s true financial performance so the company could secure and draw down millions of dollars in revolving loans from the banks that the company would not otherwise have been entitled to receive.
As part of the scheme, Wieselthier issued unqualified audit reports on an annual basis 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 U.S. GAAP. At the time he issued those “clean opinions,” he allegedly knew the company’s financial statements falsely overstated accounts receivable and understood that the banks would rely upon those false financial statements in loaning money to the company.
Prosecutors contend Wieselthier hid his accounting work for the company from his own partners and associates in an effort to conceal the fraud. In March 2014, the company defaulted on the loans. At the time, the company’s outstanding balance on the loans was more than $4.8 million.
Wieselthier pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries up to 30 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced in March.
“Marc Wieselthier has admitted to lying about the financial condition of a company to induce banks to lend the company millions of dollars,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement. “Relying on false information, the banks made loans that ended up defaulting with nearly $5 million still owed. Wieselthier now joins his co-conspirators in awaiting sentencing for his crime.”
Emanuel Cohen, 71, of Boca Raton, Fla., the former CEO of the company, and Thomas Thompson, 42, of Coral Springs, Fla., the former sales manager of the company, previously pled guilty for their roles in the scheme. They are scheduled to be sentenced in March and February, respectively.
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