NJ man admits to multi-million-dollar scheme involving NY Mets
An Essex County man pleaded guilty in federal court to running a scam involving the New York Mets to trick investors out of millions of dollars.
Michael Conway, 40 of Verona, admitted to creating more than 50 fraudulent lease agreements for office equipment to obtain more than $3.5 million from investors, the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of New York and the FBI's New York field office announced Thursday.
Federal authorities said one of those fraudulent lease agreements was with the New York Mets. Conway, president of Choice Office Solutions LLC, purportedly used this fake lease agreement with the Major League Baseball team to get an individual investor to wire transfer approximately $500,000 to his bank account to purchase office equipment, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office. Conway then used that forged lease agreement and a forged letter from Jeffrey Wilpon, chief operating officer of the Mets, to obtain $313,000 from De Lage Landen Financial Solutions Partner.
Conway's firm did have a relationship with the Mets. In January 2015, the team announced it had signed a multi-year partnership with Choice Solutions to handle the front office's copier and printer needs. The Mets referred to Choice Solutions as its "office automation partner" at the time and said the company would equip the office with LED touch screens and LED Panel TVs.
“Through a web of lies, deceit and forgeries, Michael Conway induced an individual investor and a lending firm to invest millions of dollars with his company," said Robert L. Capers, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a statement. "Conway presented his unsuspecting victims with forged lease agreements and represented to them that he had entered into lucrative contracts to lease office equipment with more than 50 companies, including law firms, universities, and a major league baseball franchise, when in reality, a number of these agreements were worthless.”
As part of his plea agreement Conway agreed to restitution in the amount of $3.56 million to the individual investor and $1.2 million to De Lage Financial Solutions Partner. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
Diego Rodriguez, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI's New York field office, said Conway's plea deal and agreement to pay restitution should serve as a warning to others who consider trying to profit through fraud.