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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

California Man Charged In White Plains Federal Court With Operating Multimillion-Dollar Mail Fraud Scheme Targeting Small Businesses

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Peter R. Rendina, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, New York Field Division (“USPIS”), announced today that MARK MUSHKIN was arrested today and charged with mail fraud for operating a multi-year, multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud small businesses.  MUSHKIN is expected to be presented this afternoon in the Central District of California. 

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, the defendant tricked hundreds of small businesses into paying him over $3 million for products that were never ordered or received.  Over more than five years, the defendant was unjustly enriched by money sent to him from businesses throughout the country under false pretenses.”

USPIS Inspector in Charge Peter R. Rendina said:  “Mr. Mushkin banked on each companies' belief the invoice received was from a legitimate vendor, not an alleged scammer. 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.”

According to the Complaint[1] unsealed today in federal court:

Between about 2011 and 2017, MARK MUSHKIN operated a scheme in which he sent false invoices to small businesses throughout the country, predominately law firms, from a purported company run by MUSHKIN called IT Tech Products.  The invoices falsely stated shipment dates for copier toner and demanded payment to IT Tech Products.  Over 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 or a representative of IT Tech Products would send a refund, allowing him to continue operating his scheme undetected.   

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MARK MUSHKIN, 52, of Laguna Beach, California, is charged with one count of mail fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.  The statutory maximum potential penalty in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. 

Mr. Berman praised the work of the Postal Inspection Service for their investigative efforts and ongoing support and assistance with the case.  Mr. Berman also thanked the Federal Trade Commission for their assistance in this case.

This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorneys Allison Nichols and Jamie Bagliebter are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

 

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
18-195
Updated June 13, 2018