A well-known Teaneck businessman whose vending machine and jukebox company paid five figures last year year to settle a copyright suit embezzled $186,123 from his employees’ pension fund, a federal indictment alleges.
A U.S. District Court judge ordered Howard Preschel, 62, remain free on $100,000 unsecured bond after he surrendered to federal authorities on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito said.
Preschel served as a trustee for the pension trust fund created by CMG Vending Inc., which operated, leased, and rented vending machines throughout New Jersey and New York.
Preschel, a Teaneck native who founded the company, began skimming the money from a trust fund as early as October 2013, Carpenito said.
"In order to conceal the ongoing embezzlement, Preschel failed to inform the participants and beneficiaries that insufficient funds were being forwarded to the pension trust and failed to file required annual reports for the plan,” the U.S. attorney said.
Preschel originally was charged last October with single counts of embezzlement and failing to file the reports. A federal judge in Newark set the $100,000 bond.
The investigation continued as Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Kearney of Carpenito’s Criminal Division presented the case to a federal grand jury in Newark.
The panel returned 10 counts of embezzlement from an employee benefit plan and three counts of failure to file an annual report against the Boston University graduate.
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 the indictment.
Last June, CMG Vending – along with its principals, Howard and Laurence Preschel – agreed 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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