Connecticut Resident Pleads Guilty to $2.19 Million Fraud Scheme Linked to French Distilleries
NEWARK, N.J. – Mitchell E. Green, a 44-year-old resident of Westport, Connecticut, has admitted to a fraudulent scheme that led to an overpayment of $2.19 million for champagne and cognac by an alcohol company. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark revealed that Green was involved in secret deals with two French distilleries, which resulted in the company paying inflated prices for the alcoholic beverages.
Green was employed by a Hoboken, New Jersey-based liquor firm, owned by a globally renowned music artist and entrepreneur, from June 2017 to February 2020. During his tenure, he covertly arranged agreements with the French distilleries to receive kickbacks through his company, Q Branch LLC. These kickbacks were for every bottle of champagne and cognac purchased by his employer from the distilleries. The cost of these kickbacks was discreetly included in the per-bottle price, leading the employer to pay a total of $14.8 million for the beverages. Of this amount, Green received $2.19 million as concealed kickbacks.
Today, before U.S. District Court Judge Michael E. Farbiarz, Green pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud. This charge carries a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, along with a fine that could be up to $250,000, double the gross profits, or double the gross loss incurred by the victims, depending on which amount is higher. The sentencing is set for January 23, 2024.
The FBI’s Newark division, led by Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy, was credited for the investigation that culminated in today’s admission of guilt by Green.