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 user 2007-03-19 at 9:43:00 am Views: 112
  • #17692

    Salesman stole $1.72M in toner
    A 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.”