A man who allegedly ran a multi-million dollar mail fraud scheme targeting small businesses for the better part of a decade was busted and is facing prison time after being charged in White Plains Federal Court on Wednesday.
Geoffrey Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that California resident Mark Mushkin, 52, has been charged with one count of mail fraud for his role in a scheme that ran from 2011 to 2017.
According to the complaint unsealed in federal court, Mushkin operated a scheme in which he sent false invoices to small businesses throughout the country, predominately law firms, from a purported company he ran called IT Tech Products. The invoices falsely stated shipment dates for copier toner and demanded payment to IT Tech Products.
Berman said that more than 800 businesses mailed over 1,900 checks to IT Tech Products based on their mistaken belief that the invoices were legitimate. These checks totaled approximately $3.3 million and were deposited into a bank account controlled by Mushkin. In the event that a business inquired about the origin of the invoice after payment had been made, Mushkin, whose permanent residence is in Laguna Beach, or a representative of IT Tech Products would send a refund, allowing him to continue operating his scheme undetected.
“As alleged, the defendant tricked hundreds of small businesses into paying him over $3 million for products that were never ordered or received,” Berman stated. “Over more than five years, the defendant was unjustly enriched by money sent to him from businesses throughout the country under false pretenses.”
“Mushkin banked on each companies' belief the invoice received was from a legitimate vendor, not an alleged scammer,” USPIS Inspector in Charge Peter Rendina added. “What he didn't bank on was the resolve of Postal Inspectors and the US Attorney to uncover his greedy scheme and bring him to justice for his crimes against unsuspecting businesses.”
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