Prior Lake Man Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud, Money Laundering in Connection with Scheme to Defraud Best Buy, Inc.
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 29, 2009|
A 37-year-old Prior Lake man pleaded guilty today in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud and one count of money laundering in connection with a scheme to defraud the Richfield-based Best Buy, Inc.
Robert Paul Bossany entered his plea on January 29 in Minneapolis before United States District Court Chief Judge Michael Davis. Bossany was charged on December 15, 2008.
From 2003 through 2008, Bossany was employed by Best Buy and was responsible for managing the purchase of computer parts from outside vendors. From 2003 through 2007, Bossany oversaw Best Buy’s relationship with a vendor, identified as “Company A,” a computer parts supply company that sold parts to Best Buy through an online reverse auction system administered by a separate company, identified as “Company B.”
Best Buy would identify the parts it needed, and Company B would compile and post a list of the needed parts on a computer server that was accessible by Company A and other approved parts vendors. Those vendors would review the list and place bids on parts they were interested in supplying to Best Buy. In their bids, vendors would represent that they had the parts available and would quote the price at which they could supply the needed parts.
According to Bossany’s plea agreement, when Best Buy solicited bids for computer parts, Company A would submit fraudulently low bids with no intention of providing the parts at the bid price. Company A often did not even have the parts available to ship. After Company B issued a purchase order to Company A to supply the parts, Company A would fraudulently invoice Best Buy through Company B at a price significantly higher than its bid price. From 2003 through 2007, Company A and its officers invoiced more than $60 million in parts through Company B to Best Buy and defrauded Best Buy out of at least $31 million.
Company A and its officers repeatedly paid Bossany cash and property to corruptly influence his loyalty and performance of his duties for Best Buy, the agreement stated. Company A sent Bossany magazines, compact discs or DVDs into which were inserted cash, checks or gift cards. The plea agreement also states that Company A sent these items via commercial carrier to Bossany’s home address rather than to Best Buy to avoid arousing the suspicions of Bossany’s co-workers. The items arrived on a bi-weekly and, at times, weekly basis.
During the time that Company A was sending Bossany cash and property, Bossany admitted he repeatedly concealed from his supervisors that Best Buy employees and Company B were questioning the high prices charged by Company A. Bossany also admitted repeatedly providing confidential and internal Best Buy business information to Company A and its officers, which Company A used in furtherance of its scheme to defraud Best Buy.
Bossany admitted that on March 16, 2006, he received and deposited a $1,000 check into his personal account from officers of Company A knowing that the transaction involved the proceeds of fraud and knowing the transaction was designed to conceal the nature and source of the proceeds of fraud.
Bossany faces a potential maximum penalty of five years on the mail fraud count and 20 years on the money laundering count. Judge Davis will determine Bossany’s sentence at a future date. This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John R. Marti and William J. Otteson.