The owner of a consumer products testing company in Rockland County is facing charges for his role in a scheme to defraud customers out of millions of dollars by reporting fake lab reports over two decades.
Gabriel Letizia, Jr., the owner of AMA Laboratories in New City, has been charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman announced. Letizia was arrested last week and arraigned in White Plains federal court on Friday, Aug. 9.
Berman said that from 1987 through 2017, Letizia and others at AMA defrauded customers out of tens of millions of dollars by testing products on materially lower numbers of panelists than the numbers specified and were paid for.
It is alleged that AMA employees, under Letizia’s direction, sent the customers fraudulent reports, which falsely represented to the customers that AMA had tested the products on the number of panelists specified by customers. Letizia and employees also made false and misleading statements about the results of tests to customers.
If convicted, Letizia, 69, of New City, faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the charges against him.
“AMA Laboratories, a consumer products testing company, tested consumer products for other companies that relied on AMA for genuine, accurate test results in order to safely bring their products to the consumer market,” Berman said in a statement.
“Unbeknownst to them, AMA’s owner, Gabriel Letizia, and others were engaged in a scheme to falsify those crucial test results by testing their products on far fewer panelists than they reported. Letizia and his co-defendants’ scheme not only cost the victim companies millions, they endangered the safety of thousands of consumers.”
Acting Rockland County District Attorney Kevin Gilleece added, “As if enriching themselves through theft and fraud wasn't bad enough, the 30-year scheme perpetrated by these individuals may have had a deleterious impact on the health and wellness of countless victims. Letizia and his employees broke the law and violated the ethical duties owed to their customers and volunteers.”
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