A Granite Bay man pleaded guilty Monday to defrauding government agencies of millions of dollars through an office supply sales scheme, according to California’s Eastern District federal court.
Jim A. Meron, 54, used two office supply companies he operated in a scheme that cost various federal government agencies up to $3.5 million between 2011 and 2017, court officials said.
The companies, WOW Imaging Products LLC and Time Enterprises LLC, were contracted to sell office supplies to government agencies through two online government-run sales websites: GSA Advantage, operated by the General Services Administration, and DOD EMall, operated by the Department of Defense.
Meron listed brand-name office supplies on these sales portals, and after receiving payment from government agencies, obtained cheaper knockoffs to ship out to buyers instead, court officials said.
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These knockoffs cost the companies much less than the expensive brand-name products, and Meron pocketed the profits, the court said.
Over time, Meron extended this practice to nearly every order for the name-brand products, according to the court.
The use of knockoff products is significant because the United States Trade Agreement Act requires federal agencies to buy products made or designed in the United States or other designated countries.
Specifically, it bans federal agencies from buying products made in China, and Meron’s supplier used cheaper products made in China, according to court documents.
As part of his plea deal, Meron agreed to forfeit $1.7 million in assets that were seized during the investigation. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 4, 2019 and faces up to 20 years in prison.