W. Long Branch man admits wire fraud in corporate espionage case
TRENTON - A West Long Branch man who tried to sell trade secrets of the "As Seen On TV" company that once employed him risks up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud.
Ralph Mandil, 38, pleaded guilty to the federal charge Tuesday in a Trenton courtroom, according to the office of Acting New Jersey U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick. Sentencing is scheduled for January 22, 2018.
Authorities alleged that Mandil attempted to conduct the clandestine business with federal agents who convinced him that they were competitors, and who recorded the exchanges through audio and video means.
According to information supplied by prosecutors, the New York firm for which Mandil worked imports and distributes products bearing the familiar "As Seen On TV" label commonly found in big-box stores, discount shops and large retailers, including electrical and manual appliances, personal care, beauty care, pet care, fitness, automotive and outdoor goods.
Investigators contended that Mandil met with the undercover agents between August and October 2016, brought samples of merchandise that could be commandeered, and offered to provide inside corporate information and access to the firm's Cloud-based drop box. They did not elaborate on the amount that Mandil sought for the details.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Intrater led the government's case. Mandil was represented by Hackensack attorneys Justin Walder and Aidan O'Connor.