Bill Boehm, the former director of information technology for Mastro Auctions, has been sentenced to probation for making false statements to FBI agents during fraud investigation against the now defunct Chicago-based auction house.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times and New York Daily News, the 66-year-old Boehm was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman. He’ll be confined to his home for the first three months of his two years on probation and pay a $2,500 fine. Boehm will also be required to do 100 hours of community service work. The Sun-Times indicated Boehm was given the opportunity to make a statement but declined. He changed his plea to guilty in August of last year.
Boehm was accused of lying to investigators about what he did to aid his former boss’ attempts to destroy evidence of an ongoing shill bidding scheme at Mastro Auctions more than ten years ago.
Prosecutors say in or around 2001, Mastro asked Boehm to provide him with a ‘dead paddle’, a term for the account of someone who didn’t actively participate in the company’s auctions. Boehm, a St. Louis native who handled IT for Mastro, allowed the company to use an inactive account belonging to one of his friends who simply liked receiving auction catalogs.
When the FBI investigators came calling in 2003, investigators say Mastro asked Boehm to destroy all underbidder records for the company to cover up shill bids that he’d placed to drive up final selling prices. Boehm told investigators in 2007 that he had deactivated the account of his friend because the person was “having financial problems”, a statement he later admitted was not true.
In a letter filed earlier this year, U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon indicated the government was satisfied with Boehm’s cooperation in the case, telling federal judge Ronald Guzman:
“With regard to the nature and circumstances of the offense and the need to provide just punishment, defendant’s offense is clearly serious. Defendant not only opted to conceal evidence of a fraud scheme, at the request of his superior, but he also made the decision to further conceal the crime by telling a series of lies to the Case. However, as part of his plea agreement, defendant has accepted responsibility for the lies he told to the FBI as well as his role in facilitating the fraud scheme while an employee at Mastro Auctions. Moreover, based on the PSR, defendant has led a law-abiding life since his 2007 conduct that resulted in the charge in this case. Accordingly, in this particular case, which falls within the applicable Guidelines range, is a just sentence.”
As part of his probation agreement, Boehm would not be able to not leave the judicial district in which he is being supervised without the permission of the court or the probation officer and not commit another federal, state or local offense.
CEO Bill Mastro and long-time president Doug Allen are awaiting sentences after pleading guilty to fraud charges.