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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Somebody Beat the Wiz as Ex-Exec Faces Prison

MANHATTAN (CN) - The co-founder of the Wiz, a now-shuttered electronics warehouse known for its soulful TV jingles, received a three-year federal prison sentence Wednesday.

Marvin Jemal, 61, of Brooklyn, previously pleaded to a multimillion-dollar bank fraud that he perpetrated to fund a luggage-selling business.

Prosecutors have not disclosed the identity of that company, which raked in $6.9 million in loans and defaulted on all but $900,000.

Nearly $2 million of those loans were based on fraudulent information, prosecutors say.

Jemal and his CFO Mark Bernstein allegedly submitted fake shipping documents and other bogus filings to snag the loans, and $1.9 million of the bounty lined Jemal's pockets to pay for his mortgage, credit card bills and Porsche.

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni handed down Jemal's sentence Wednesday.

In addition to prison time, Jemal must pay more than $2.7 million in restitution and forfeit an equal amount in criminal proceeds.

Bernstein, a 64-year-old from Belle Harbor, N.Y., pleaded guilty to helping him carry out the frauds last month. He heads to sentencing on Jan. 15, 2015.

Though the Wiz filed for bankruptcy in 2003, corporate parent P.C. Richard & Son still operates its website, TheWiz.com.

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