Taken for a Ride

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By Jim Edwards

Eliot Spitzer hasn’t quite come knocking, but the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and at least two state prosecutors have stepped up the pace of investigations into the marketing, advertising, printing and point-of-purchase display industries over the past year.

Collectively, the cases cut across all areas of marketing from clients and their ad agencies, to public relations, print houses, media providers and so-called collateral vendors. The scams also have common themes: Bid-rigging, inflated billing, cash kickbacks or excessive gift-giving.

Ongoing probes of the industry, even without the participation of the New York State attorney general, have led to the convictions of more than 60 executives since 1994, the Justice Department said in September.



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