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Press Release

Senior Public Relations Firm Executive Pleads Guilty To Defrauding His Employers Of Millions Of Dollars

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ANDREW GARSON, a public relations executive, pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court in connection with a scheme to defraud his former employers of millions of dollars.  Pursuant to his plea agreement with the Government, GARSON agreed to pay $3,754,068 in restitution to the victims of his crime.  GARSON pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 28, 2024. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Andrew Garson betrayed his employers time and time again, causing millions of dollars in losses, and when he no longer had an employer to defraud, he applied for and received thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits to which he was not entitled.  Garson’s fraud scheme was multifaceted and manipulative, and he has now admitted to greedily exploiting his employers’ trust to line his own pockets.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment and other filings and statements made in court:

Between approximately 2014 and 2018, GARSON was employed as an executive at two different marketing public relations agencies located in New York, New York, the first between approximately 2014 and January 2018 (“PR Firm-1”), and the second between approximately January 2018 and November 2018 (“PR Firm-2”).  In his respective roles at those two firms, GARSON was responsible for working directly with clients, coordinating various marketing and public relations campaigns, and managing vendor relationships in connection with such campaigns.  In or about July 2018, GARSON was named a “40 Under 40” public relations executive by PR Week Magazine.  However, GARSON engaged in a scheme to lie to his two employers for years, causing his employers millions of dollars in losses.         

One such series of misrepresentations by GARSON resulted in the unauthorized payment by PR Firm-2 of expenses owed to vendors in connection with marketing campaigns led by GARSON while employed at PR Firm‑1.  Over the course of GARSON’s first several months of employment at PR Firm-2, GARSON lied to certain vendors, stating that PR Firm-2 had agreed to cover expenses still owed to those vendors related to GARSON’s prior projects at PR Firm-1.  In fact, PR Firm-2 did not authorize the payment of those expenses.  In order to cause PR Firm-2 to effect payment of these expenses, GARSON created fraudulent invoices falsely claiming that the vendors were due payment for work performed on PR Firm-2 projects.  In this fashion, GARSON caused PR Firm-2 to pay substantial expenses to vendors with which GARSON had worked on projects while employed at PR Firm-1.

In addition, while employed at PR Firm-1, GARSON used his corporate credit card for unauthorized personal expenses.  For example, in or about August 2017, GARSON purchased a luxury watch using his PR Firm-1 corporate credit card for approximately $14,000, claiming that the expense related to event production for a client marketing event.  GARSON later sold the watch to a New Jersey jewelry store in or about December 2018 for approximately $4,000.  GARSON deposited the money that he earned from the sale of the watch into his personal bank account.

GARSON similarly defrauded PR Firm-2 with respect to the unauthorized use of his corporate credit card.  For example, GARSON submitted expense reports to PR Firm-2 in which he claimed the same expense for reimbursement on more than one occasion, causing PR Firm-2 to reimburse GARSON twice for the same expenditure.

After uncovering certain aspects of the fraud scheme perpetrated by GARSON, PR Firm-2 terminated GARSON in or about November 2018.  While applying for unemployment insurance program benefits from the New York State Department of Labor following his termination, GARSON lied regarding the circumstances surrounding his separation from PR Firm-2.  As a result of his misrepresentations, between in or about December 2018 and in or about March 2019, GARSON received a total of over $5,000 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

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GARSON, 41, of Rockville Centre, New York, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. 

The maximum potential sentence 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. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy V. Capozzi is in charge of the prosecution.


Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated November 1, 2023

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-377