Sixth Print Executive Pleads Guilty in Color Wheel Case

NEW YORK — The co-owner of a New York City graphic services company has pleaded guilty to rigging bids submitted to Grey Advertising in Manhattan, the Department of Justice announced.

In U.S. District Court in Manhattan, James Rattoballi, a part-owner of an unnamed graphic services company and a broker for other graphic services companies, pleaded guilty to one count of rigging bids, and to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, said a representative for the DOJ.

The charges stem from a Department of Justice anti-trust division investigation into several printing and graphics supply companies, including The Color Wheel and some of its former officers, as well as the former head of Grey’s print services Mitch Mosallem. The DOJ charged the defendants with using phony
invoices to inflate the cost of print jobs for Grey clients, including Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co.

The bid-rigging charge, a violation of the Sherman Act, carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment and a $350,000 fine.

Rattoballi is the sixth individual connected to the case who has pleaded guilty within the last two months.

Those who have pleaded guilty to related bid-rigging and conspiracy charges so far are Lori Montgomery, a minority co-owner and former treasurer of Quality House of Graphics, a Queens, NY-based graphic services company; Joseph Panaccione (aka “Joe Payne”), a former vice president and manager of graphics services at Grey Advertising; Gabriel Casas, a former Color Wheel salesman; Howard Marlin, owner and chief executive of Caysun Graphics, New York, a brokerage of printing and other graphics services; and Bertram Cohen, owner of Darbert Offset Corp., a New York-based printing company.

Rattoballi was recently named as a co-conspirator in this case along with John Steinmetz, a former vice president and associate director of graphic services at Grey. Prosecutors have identified a third co-conspirator, who was a former Quality House of Graphics salesperson, but have declined to make the name public.