Michael Peppel, former head of the national AV integration company MCSi, which collapsed in 2003, plead guilty in federal court today to three charges — willful false certification of a financial report by a corporate officer, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit securities, mail, and wire fraud. The other 29 charges against him were dropped as part of the agreement. The plea agreement means Peppel will not have a trial.
According to the Dayton Daily News, Peppel could be sentenced to anywhere from 20 to 50 years in federal prision, along with receiving fines in the millions of dollars, although he is likely receive a lesser prison sentence and a fine of about $1 Million under federal sentencing guidelines. He is expected to be sentenced in about three months. The government has indicated it will seize properties Peppel owns in Ohio and Florida to raise money for restitution for the victims of the fraud.
Peppel was accused, along with several other executives, of masterminding a fraudulent accounting scheme that artificially inflated stock prices and filing false reports with the SEC. The company ultimately went bankrupt and collapsed in 2003, leaving more than 1300 employees with no jobs, worthless stock, and ruined retirement plans.
The original indictment in 2006 indicated that Peppel collaborated with Ira H. Stanley, MCSi’s chief financial officer, and three other co-conspirators, but a five-year statute of limitations meant it was too late to bring charges against anyone else in the company besides Stanley. Stanley plead guilty in 2007 to federal crimes related to the case, and was to be the prosecution’s star witness against Peppel if his case went to trial.