Source: Yahoo! Finance
2 Sentenced in World Wrestling Entertainment Kickback Scheme
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — A former licensing agent for World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. and a former executive for the company were sentenced Tuesday for their roles in a $1 million kickback scheme, federal prosecutors said.
Stanley Shenker, 61, of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., formerly of New Canaan, was sentenced to 33 months in prison and three years of probation. James K. Bell, 52, of Norwalk, received an eight-month sentence and three years of probation, prosecutors said.
Shenker pleaded guilty in January to conspiring to defraud WWE of honest services by paying about $1 million in kickbacks to Bell, a WWE insider. Bell pleaded guilty in 2005 to a related charge.
Shenker was the sole corporate officer of Stanley Shenker and Associates Inc., which provided licensing services to WWE. He admitted that he agreed with Bell, WWE’s senior vice president of licensing and merchandising, to defraud WWE by paying kickbacks to Bell for future business and concealing the payments.
During the conspiracy from 1998 to 2002, Shenker secretly paid Bell about $950,000, a fraction of commissions Shenker received from WWE, prosecutors said.
Shenker and Bell disguised the payments by falsely suggesting in invoices that Bell had earned the payments by providing consulting services, prosecutors said.
With the fake invoices, Shenker was able to deduct the payments on his tax returns as purported business expenses, authorities said.
Shenker was ordered as part of his sentencing to pay $2.8 million in restitution to WWE. Bell was ordered to pay a $6,000 fine and more than $950,000 in restitution.
Outside the United States, World Wrestling Entertainment’s programming is distributed to 100 countries in 13 languages. The company also licenses characters for merchandise and sells DVDs and videos featuring stars such as The Rock, Hulk Hogan, and The Undertaker.