Federal prosecutors have requested probation for a former Mastro Auctions employee who admitted to participating in a shill bidding scheme.
William Boehm, the former director of information technology for Mastro, pleaded guilty last year to making false statements to FBI investigators who interviewed him as part of a fraud investigation against the now defunct Chicago-based auction house. CEO Bill Mastro and long-time president Doug Allen are awaiting sentences after pleading guilty to fraud charges.
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 supplied Mastro with the account of a friend who had an account only to receive Mastro’s large catalogs full of rare vintage baseball cards and memorabilia.
They also say Mastro asked Boehm to destroy underbidder records in 2003. Boehm complied with the wishes of his boss and concealed that information during the 2007 investigation but later admitted to his role as part of a plea agreement.
In a letter filed this week and first reported by the New York Daily News, 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.
Boehm’s sentencing date, originally scheduled for Friday, has been postponed.