Two Men Charged With $900,000 Interstate Theft Scheme
NEWARK, N.J. - Two New Jersey men were arrested today for their roles in a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $900,000 in commercial and residential merchandise from various companies, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
Roy Depack, a/k/a “Ray Depack,” a/k/a “Roy Soriano,” a/k/a “John Soriano,” 42, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Louis J. Pobutkiewicz Sr., 39, of Newark, are charged by complaint with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Both defendants were arrested this morning by FBI special agents and postal inspectors from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. They appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson in Newark federal court.
According to the complaint:
Beginning in mid-2014, Depack allegedly engaged in a scheme to fraudulently obtain merchandise – including Apple computers, iPads, digital scales, a walk-in freezer, a dishwasher, microwaves, gas ranges, refrigerators, ice makers, commercial grade food processors, coin operated commercial washers and dryers, Samsung televisions, Dewalt and Milwaukie tools kits, plasma cutters, and NFL jackets – from at least six different victim companies.
In furtherance of the scheme, Depack called the victim companies and falsely claimed to be a representative of companies that had preexisting business relationships, lines of credit, or accounts with the victim companies. Depack would then direct the victim companies to ship the products to various addresses in Newark, Elizabeth, Union, New Jersey, and New York, while the victims billed the companies that Depack was pretending to represent.
At times, Pobutkiewicz would accept the shipments of the fraudulently ordered merchandise. Afterwards, Depack and others sold and attempted to the sell the fraudulently obtained merchandise to pawn stores and others.
For example, on Nov. 21, 2016, Depack called a victim company in Illinois while fraudulently using the name “Greg” and claiming to be a representative of an electric distributor that operates in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. Depack ordered a power tool kit valued at approximately $1,241.65 and directed the company to deliver the merchandise to an address in Newark that was close to Pobutkiewicz’s residence. The next day, federal agents conducted surveillance near the delivery address in Newark and observed Depack and Pobutkiewicz meet near the delivery address. Afterwards, federal agents observed Pobutkiewicz take possession of the parcel.
Depack used over 100 different telephones numbers to call the victim companies. These phone numbers were often registered in another person’s name. In addition to using different names to place orders, Depack often attempted to use a female voice. The Victim Companies recorded many of these the calls – including the above example – and provided them to federal agents.
When the victim companies rejected his orders, Depack sometimes threatened to cancel business accounts or file lawsuits. In one instance, after a company rejected his order, Depack stated, “I’m gonna come down there with a Louisville Slugger. We’re gonna see what their gonna do now, alright. Thank you.”
In total, Depack and others caused and attempted to cause over $900,000 in financial losses to the victim companies.
The charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. After the initial appearance, Depack was detained. Pobutkiewicz will be detained temporarily pending further proceedings.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy A. Gallagher in Newark, and postal inspectors from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge James V. Buthorn, with the investigation.
The charge in the complaint is merely an accusation, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Moscato of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
Depack: Stacy Ann Biancamano Esq., Chatham, New Jersey
Pobutkiewicz: Chester Keller Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark