A former employee of a New York company that invests in, imports and distributes “As Seen On TV” products admitted trying to sell trade secrets to one of the company’s competitors, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
On Sept. 19, Ralph Mandil, 38, of West Long Branch, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Mandil’s employer, sold products which included electrical and non-electrical appliances, beauty and personal care, pet care, fitness, auto and outdoor products that are frequently marketed via television ads and are commonly sold at large retailers such as Walmart.
Prosecutors say from August 2016 through October 2016, Mandil communicated and met with people he believed were representatives of a New Jersey-based competitor of the company. These individuals were actually government agents outfitted with audio and video recording devices.
Mandil offered to provide the agents with information belonging the company, in addition to providing them with access to its “drop box,” or cloud storage account, in exchange for money. Mandil also provided the government agents with samples of the merchandise he could steal from the company.
The wire fraud count to which Mandil pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 22, 2018.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Intrater, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Justin Walder Esq. and Aidan O’Connor Esq., Hackensack, New Jersey.