LAWRENCEVILLE -- The owner of a frozen food company who defrauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture of international television advertising reimbursements was sentenced on Tuesday by federal authorities.
Mushtaq "Mike" Mistry, 47, of Lawrenceville, who was charged in February and convicted after a guilty plea in September, was sentenced to serve 12 months and one day in federal prison on charges of wire fraud. That punishment will be followed by three years of supervised release, six months of home confinement, 500 hours of community service and to pay $342,500 in restitution to the Commodity Credit Corporation.
The Commodity Credit Corporation helps domestic companies finance promotional activities abroad for U.S. agricultural products.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Mistry abused a federal program designed to help U.S. companies market and sell products internationally.
"In this time of federal belt-tightening, it is essential to detect and prevent federal program fraud in order to preserve these resources for the individuals and small businesses that truly need them," Yates said.
Donald B. Yaden, the IRS criminal investigation special agent in charge, said Mistry took advantage of the very program designed to help him and his business.
Mistry owned Salwa Foods, a Lawrenceville halal frozen food company, and from 2007 to 2009 submitted false claims under the USDA's Market Access Program to be reimbursed for the cost of television advertising in Dubai, according to a news release.
After Mistry submitted false invoices and checks, he received $342,500 from the Southern United States Trade Association.
In February, Mistry was indicted on 15 counts of wire fraud, three counts of false statements, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 11 counts of money laundering.