Accepting Kickbacks in Property Transactions Means Jail

Allison Tussey —  January 25, 2012 — Leave a comment

Benjamin Viloski, 63, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, an attorney, was sentenced January 13, 2012, by U.S. District Judge David N. Hurd to a 60-month term of imprisonment to be followed by a supervised release term of three years for his role in assisting a Senior VP of Real Estate to obtain kickbacks in property development transactions.

The charges arose in connection with a scheme to defraud executed by another defendant Joseph Queri and his co-conspirators beginning in 1998 into 2005. Queri used his position as the Senior Vice President of Real Estate for Dick’s Sporting Goods to funnel himself illegal kickback payments on store development deals through bank accounts maintained by his co-conspirators. Viloski, an attorney representing Dick‘s in the store development deals, helped Queri collect approximately $2 million in unlawful kickback payments.

This sentencing followed Viloski‘s conviction on July 29, 2011 by a U.S. District Court jury of multiple felony counts charging him and others with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering of criminally derived property, money laundering, and a single count of making a false statement to a federal law enforcement officer.

The court also denied a defense request for bail pending appeal and a further request to permit the defendant to self-surrender. The court instead ordered the defendant to be remanded to custody, in part, on the basis of its determination that defendant Viloski is a danger to the community.

The court also imposed a $900 special assessment and ordered Viloski to pay restitution to the victims of the scheme to defraud, including $25,000 to Classic Real Estate and $50,000 to COR Development. The court also issued an order of forfeiture requiring Viloski to pay a money judgment in the amount of $1,273,285.50.

On January 17, 2012, co-defendant Joseph Queri, 53, Syracuse, NY, was also sentenced by Judge Hurd. Defendant Queri, a co-conspirator of defendant Viloski‘s, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 41 months to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release. The Court imposed a $300 special assessment and ordered Queri to pay restitution in the amount of $50,000 to COR Development, $250,000 to the Hampshire Companies, and $25,000 to Classic Real Estate. Queri‘s restitution obligations to victims COR Development and Classic Real Estate were made joint and several with those of defendant Viloski. The court also issued an order of forfeiture directing Queri to pay a money judgment in the amount of $1,453,813.81.

On February 11, 2011, Queri pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering in criminally derived property. The charges arose in connection with a scheme to defraud executed by defendant Queri and his co-conspirators beginning in 1998 into 2005. Queri used his position as the Senior Vice President of Real Estate for Dick’s Sporting Goods to funnel himself illegal kickback payments on store development deals through bank accounts maintained by his co-conspirators. Viloski, an attorney representing Dick‘s in the store development deals, helped Queri collect approximately $2 million in unlawful kickback payments.

On January 18, 2012, co-defendant Gary Gosson, 55, Syracuse, Ney York, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Hurd to 24 months’ incarceration to be followed by a term of supervised release of three years following his guilty pleas on May 7, 2010, to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit securities fraud through insider trading. The court imposed a $300 special assessment and ordered Gosson to pay restitution in the amount of $50,000 to COR Development and $250,000 to the Hampshire Companies. The court also issued an order of forfeiture directing Gosson to pay a money judgment in the amount of $90,928.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Criminal Division Chief Steven D. Clymer and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gwendolyn E. Carroll.

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Allison Tussey

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