As expected, William Boehm, IT director for Mastro Auctions during its heyday several years ago, has pleaded guilty to lying during an FBI investigation. Federal prosecutors are asking for a prison sentence of up to six months.
The New York Daily News reported that court papers reveal Boehm told CEO Bill Mastro in a phone call “not to worry” about the investigation into shill bidding at the auction house because “he took care of it”. Prosecutors say he was referring to false statements he had made to agents in an effort to cover up the company’s use of fake accounts to artificially inflate auction prices and make bidders pay more than they normally would have.
Court documents say Boehm had told the agents he had disabled two accounts because they were customers who had financial problems. Prosecutors say Boehm knew Mastro and other employees there had been using the accounts to shill bid.
Four former Mastro executives have now pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from an investigation that began in 2006. Bill Mastro, Doug Allen and Mark Theotikos have not yet been sentenced.