The owner of a New Jersey-based vending machine company has been indicted on 10 counts of embezzling more than $186,000 from his employees’ benefit plan, and three counts of failure to file an annual report.
According to the indictment announced by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, Howard Preschel, 62, of Teaneck, New Jersey, served as a trustee for the CMG Vending Inc. Pension Trust Fund.
CMG Vending operated, leased, and rented vending machines throughout New Jersey and New York. According to the charges against him, Preschel started to embezzle from the fund in October 2013 and took a total of $186,123. He allegedly issued pension trust checks, drawn on the pension’s bank account that were either made out to himself or to cash, which he then endorsed.
In order to conceal the ongoing embezzlement, Preschel allegedly did not inform employees that insufficient funds were being forwarded to the plan, failed to distribute the annual funding notice to participants in the plan, and failed to file annual reports for the plan with the US Department of Labor.
The complaint against Preschel said that as a result of the withdrawals and transfers he allegedly made, the balance of the bank account for the pension trust was $0.02 by about the end of 2015.
Additionally, the complaint alleged that when an employee of CMG Vending asked Preschel about distributing the annual funding notice to the other employees, Preschel told the employee not to do so because he didn’t want any of the employees to know anything about the pension plan. He allegedly told the employee that the plan was his money and that anything the employees would receive was a gift.
The embezzlement charges each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Failing to file an annual report charges each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Preschel surrendered to authorities and subsequently was released on a $100,000 bond.