Color Wheel Salesman Pleads Guilty

NEW YORK — Federal prosecutors secured guilty pleas this week from two previously unnamed defendants in the connection with an ongoing Justice Department investigation into fraudulent billing practices involving Grey Worldwide and graphics supplier The Color Wheel, sources said.

Gabriel Casas, a salesman for the scandal-plagued Color Wheel, has pleaded guilty to bid-rigging and mail fraud, sources said. Thus far, Casas had been unnamed in DOJ filings related to the case. Representatives for the DOJ declined to comment.

In a related development, Howard Marlin, owner and CEO of Caysun Graphics Ltd., a Manhattan-based printing house, has pleaded guilty to overbilling and tax fraud for his dealings with an unnamed co-conspirator at Impact Communications, a New York ad agency that mainly handles pharmaceutical clients, sources said. Marlin admitted paying kickbacks to the co-conspirator through Ivan Glick, an independent print services broker who primarily dealt with The Color Wheel. Glick, the owner of New Horizons Litho, pleaded guilty conspiracy and tax evasion charges back in May.

According to sources, Casas, who will be sentenced on January 10, 2003, pleaded guilty on Wednesday, implicating Color Wheel and Mitch Mosallem, the former evp and director of print services for Grey. The Color Wheel, including its owner Haluk Ergulec, salesman Birj Deckmejian and former Quality House of Graphics print-services salesman John Ghianni, are accused of defrauding Grey clients through overbilling.

In his guilty plea, sources said, Casas admitted to overbilling Grey clients with Mosallem’s knowledge. He also admitted to overcharging Grey clients without Mosallem knowing, sources said.

Lawyers for The Color Wheel were unavailable for comment.