A well-known Teaneck businessman must spend 2½ years in federal prison for embezzling $368,783 from the employee pension fund of his vending machine and jukebox company, following his sentencing in Newark.
Howard Preschel, 63, who paid five figures two years ago to settle a copyright infringement suit, admitted in federal court in Newark last August that he swiped the money over the course of at least eight years from CMG Vending Inc., which operated, leased, and rented vending machines throughout New Jersey and New York.
Preschel founded and served as the trustee for the pension fund, from which federal prosecutors said he made 52 separate illegal withdrawals or transfers from various accounts.
The fund lost an additional $93,267 in interest as a result of the thefts, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito said.
Preschel must serve out the entire sentence handed down Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Susan D. Wigenton because there's no parole in the federal prison system. Wigenton also sentenced him to three years of supervised release.
Under his plea deal with the government, Preschel also must pay $462,050 in restitution to the trust fund, the U.S. attorney said.
He also "agreed to a debarment [that] prohibits him from acting as a fiduciary on behalf of any employee benefit plan for a period of 13 years," Carpenito said.
Carpenito credited special agents of the federal Department of Labor Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration with the investigation leading to an indictment, plea deal and sentence secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Kearney of his Criminal Division in Newark.
CMG Vending – along with its principals, Howard and Laurence Preschel – agreed in June 2018 to settle a lawsuit filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York by the Amusement And Music Owners Association of New York for using copyrighted material without paying for it, records show.
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