Jim A. Meron, owner of California-based WOW Imaging Products LLC and Time Enterprises LLC, has pled guilty to wire fraud related to a procurement fraud scheme involving the General Service Administration (GSA) Federal Supply Schedule program and a Department of Defense (DoD) electronic ordering system.
According to court documents, between May 2011 and July 2017, Meron used his two office supply businesses to defraud federal government agencies out of as much as $3.5 million — involving thousands of transactions — by substituting and delivering cheaper, generic versions of expensive, name-brand products his customers ordered, and pocketing the price difference. As part of his plea, Meron agreed to forfeit more than $1.7 million in assets seized during the investigation of his crimes.
Meron’s companies contracted to sell office supplies to federal agencies through two web-based government sales portals, GSA Advantage and DoD eMall. After Meron received payments for the premium products his customers ordered, he obtained compatible products from his suppliers that cost him a fraction of what his customer paid for the brand-name products they ordered. Meron then substituted and delivered those cheaper products for the more expensive products his customers ordered, and retained the difference in cost. Over time, Meron extended his substitution scheme to nearly all orders for those name-brand products, and never intended to deliver what his customers ordered.
This case is the product of an investigation by GSA’s Office of Inspector General and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.
Meron is scheduled to be sentenced on February 4, 2019. Meron faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of conviction. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.