CEDAR GROVE, NJ - On July 29, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced that Joseph Belasco, 65, of Cedar Grove, New Jersey was sentenced to six months in prison and six months of home confinement. Belasco agreed to pay restitution of $1 million to the Pepsi Bottling Group for his role in a tax fraud scheme.
Belasco previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares to superseding information charging him with providing a false 2008 IRS 1099 form to the wife of a PepsiCo executive for consulting services that she never performed. Judge Linares imposed the sentence in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:
In the spring of 1998, Belasco, along with a business associate, created Impact Cause Related Marketing (Impact Marketing), a subsidiary of Culinary Ventures Vending, a company that placed and stocked vending machines in private and commercial facilities, such as state colleges and entertainment venues. The purpose of Impact Marketing was allegedly to provide Pepsi Bottling Co. with leads for acquiring new customers to purchase its cans, bottles and fountain products. Impact Marketing and Belasco would receive commissions for as long as the client remained a Pepsi customer. According to its contract, Impact Marketing would also receive quarterly rebates, depending upon the amount of Pepsi product a customer purchased on an annual basis.
Edwin Glasspool, a Pepsi employee who developed new customers, assigned those customers to Impact Marketing. He also reassigned existing Pepsi customers to the list of new customers allegedly referred by Impact Marketing, generating additional commissions for leads for Belasco that Belasco had not actually generated himself. Between 1998 and 2008, Impact Marketing received from Pepsi $2.9 million in commissions and rebates as a result of the fraudulent scheme. Glasspool’s wife, Janice Bachman, who filed joint tax returns with her husband, received approximately $135,000 in annual income for a no-show position with Belasco and Impact Marketing. Glasspool had previously pleaded guilty to defrauding Pepsi of $2.9 million dollars and having his wife receive his annual share of the defrauded money through checks for consulting services issued by Impact Marketing, the vending company.
In addition to the incarceration and the $1 million in restitution, Belasco was sentenced to two years of supervised release and fined him $30,000 by Judge Linares.