Print Broker Latest to Plead in Bid-Rigging Investigation

NEW YORK — The co-owner of a New York City printing brokerage company today pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges relating to two separate schemes to defraud clients of Grey, the Department of Justice announced.

In U.S. District Court in Manhattan, John Chessa of Yorktown Heights, New York, a co-owner of an unnamed printing brokerage company based in Manhattan, pleaded guilty to fraudulently inflating invoices issued by his company to Grey, with the understanding that those inflated invoices would be passed on to Grey’s clients for payment. Chessa also pleaded guilty to participating, from approximately November 1999 until December 2000, in a scheme in which he paid kickbacks to Joseph Panaccione, also known as Joe Payne, the former vice president and manager of graphic services at Grey.

Panaccione pleaded guilty to related conspiracy charges in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on October 1, 2002.

The conspiracy charges each carry a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

These charges stem from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation of bid rigging, bribery, fraud, and tax-related offenses in the advertising, printing and graphics industries. Chessa is the seventh individual to plead guilty in the printing field within the last two months.