YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A former senior official at A&P supermarkets’ Montvale headquarters was sentenced today to three years in federal prison — and ordered to pay $3.2 million in restitution — for scalping thousands of promotional tickets meant for employees to Yankee playoff games, a Super Bowl and concerts by Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga and U2.
John R. Moritz, 45, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in March, admitting that he pocketed $1.2 million privately selling more than 7,000 tickets online without his colleagues’ knowledge.
Moritz, of Mason, Ohio, was senior vice-president of marketing for A&P when he arranged for the company’s purchase of the tickets, intended “to reward high-performing A&P employees and for other legitimate business purposes,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.
For a year beginning in December 2010, he said, he sold them himself.
A&P said it detected the thefts and quickly reported them to federal authorities, said Joanne Fischetti, the communications and recruiting manager of The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, Inc.
“As a matter of record, A&P does not expend funds on entertainment events for employees at any level,” Fischetti said in a statement after the plea.
“A&P continues to cooperate fully with prosecutors handling the matter,” she said, adding: “A&P has worked hard to gain the trust of the communities in which it serves, and we are extremely disappointed by the actions of Mr. Moritz.
“We pride ourselves on being a pillar of honesty, loyalty and reliability, and will not permit the criminal activities of one to cast a pall over the 30,000 terrific associates who work in our stores every day.”
Fishman credited FBI agents for making the case, handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lakshmi Srinivasan Herman of his Economic Crimes Unit in Newark and Evan Weitz of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit.
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