Accused Agency Defrauder Plea Bargains To Avoid Trial

A trial date for Gilbert Solnin, who was arrested last year and formally indicted in January for an alleged scheme to defraud ad agencies, has been put on hold until at least March, according to court documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

The delay was ordered by Judge William D. Wall, who indicated in his ruling that Solnin was currently negotiating a plea bargain arrangement with prosecutors. There was a “likelihood” the two sides would come to an agreement, and the case could be concluded without the expense of a lengthy trial.

Based on evidence heard by a Grand Jury last October, a formal indictment was filed in District Court last month. It charged Solnin with 14 felony counts of mail and wire fraud, connected to an alleged scheme that was hatched in 2007.

The scheme was designed to defraud ad agencies (which have not been publicly identified by the court) out of fees of between $3,500 and $8,000 paid to Solnin purportedly for the opportunity to work on ad accounts of certain beverage marketers.



The Plainview, New York resident held himself out to be a consultant to the beverage industry, allegedly authorized by companies to select agencies on their behalf. But according to the indictment, not a single beverage company authorized Solnin to represent them, and no agency work was ever awarded. Solnin would keep the fees, often sent through the mail, and eventually stop talking to the agencies, per the indictment. The wire fraud counts stem from email exchanges Solnin had with agencies.

Solnin is currently out of jail on a $250,000 bond, but is under home detention pending the completion of the case.  He has also specifically been ordered to avoid “all contact with advertising agencies, marketing agencies and distilleries” by the court. 

In his order, Judge Wall wrote: “Given the reasonable likelihood that ongoing plea negotiations will result in a disposition of this case without trial, the [delay] will allow all counsel to focus their efforts" on the plea talks "without the risk that they would be denied the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation for trial." 

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