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 user 2007-03-19 at 9:44:00 am Views: 36
  • #17660

    Salesman stole $1.72M in toner
    former Teaneck resident pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing printer
    toner cartridges worth $1.72 million from the Clifton stationery supply
    company where he worked, authorities said.Account executive Michael D.
    Peller admitted in Superior Court in Hackensack that he stole the
    cartridges from AOS Acquisition Corp. by secretly putting them on the
    account of a client, the former Hudson United Bank of Mahwah, said
    Thomas R. Clark, a state deputy attorney general. Peller then resold
    themThe scheme came to light after AOS became suspicious because Peller
    was paying for some of the Hudson United orders with his personal
    checks, according to a lawsuit filed by AOS in Superior Court in
    Paterson.Papers filed in the two cases say that Peller stole 30,000
    cartridges between December 2003 and Sept. 13, 2005.Peller, 63, pleaded
    guilty to theft by deception and faces up to 10 years in jail and fines
    of more than $3 million, authorities said. He agreed to a judgment
    against him of $955,398 — the amount left unpaid for the
    cartridges.The Attorney General’s Office says it will recommend Peller
    get five years when he is sentenced May 18.Peller — who now lives in
    Belle Mead in Somerset County, according to Clark — could not be
    reached for comment.AOS attorney Jennifer Ewers Hurley declined to
    comment.Ronald Coleman, a Newark attorney for one of Peller’s main
    customers, said he wasn’t surprised at the plea because the salesman
    left a strong paper trail behind.

    Coleman said his client –
    Rueven Weinstein, of Rockland County-based R&M Industries of NY, a
    supplier of stationery goods — innocently bought cartridges for
    $800,000 from Peller. The salesman had said he “had personally gotten
    hold of a number of job lots,” Coleman said.”There is a sense of
    sadness at what happened to what we thought was a decent guy,” said
    Coleman, adding that Weinstein had known Peller for several years. “It
    was really just an absolute abuse of trust.”AOS, which is also known as
    Allied Office Supplies, is one of the nation’s largest independent
    dealers of office products, with 17 sales offices throughout the United
    States.Peller joined the company in February 1990, and resigned in
    September 2005. After Hudson United became a customer in 1999, Peller
    controlled the account, according to the lawsuit. It accused Peller of
    breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and theft, and resulted in a summary
    judgment against him.The suit said that Peller created dummy orders
    under Hudson United’s name and then picked up the goods himself at the
    warehouse, saying he would deliver them personally.”He also indicated
    to warehouse personnel to make sure that the cartridges to be picked up
    were ‘fresh’ — i.e., had at least a four-month expiration date,” the
    suit said.Although AOS sent paper invoices to customers, Peller asked
    AOS employees to put the Hudson United invoices on computer disks,
    which he delivered to the company after deleting the dummy orders, the
    suit says.

    The salesman paid for 44 of the fraudulent orders
    with his credit card, and another three by personal check, the suit
    said.Coleman said his client was partly convinced that Peller’s
    merchandise was legitimate by the appearance.”The stuff was presented
    to him in perfect shrink wrap, right on the pallet” Coleman said. “No
    one would have dreamed that someone would have the audacity to ship
    stuff from his own company based on a false purchase order.”