The owners of Arlington Glass Manipulators in Queensbury, NY, are accused of charging more than 40 customers for glass installation equipment that was never delivered. Robert Mirel, 71, and Deborah Burnett, 65, allegedly stole $1.2 million from customers across the country.
They were arrested on April 17, 2018. At that time, both remained in custody. Mirel was held on a $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond and Burnett was held on a $100,000 cash bail or $300,000 bond. Each defendant faces five to 15 years in state prison if convicted of all 29 counts, which include money laundering, grand larceny, scheme to defraud, tax fraud and labor crimes, according to a release from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Starting in 2012, the duo allegedly requested a 50-percent down payment from customers who never received a finished glass manipulator, which glass and glazing companies use to install heavy glass. Mirel and Burnett terminated most of their employees by April 2013, but continued to take orders for the machines through at least 2016, according to the release. They would require customers to pay their balance prior to shipment of the manipulators, but never fulfilled the order.
According to the attorney general’s office, Mirel and Burnett allegedly took manipulators from customers for repairs, then either repaired them and resold them to other customers or used the machine’s parts for other products without notifying the original owner.
Schneiderman’s office accuses Mirel and Burnett of using shell and shelf companies to launder the money through at least eight bank accounts. The defendants also allegedly “created a prospectus showing an estimated cash flow of more than $11 million, in an attempt to sell Arlington and attract investors to provide funding necessary to continue perpetrating their scheme.”
The prospectus forecasted that the company would sell 200 manipulators a year. The indictment alleges the numbers were grossly inflated, as the company never manufactured more than ten machines per year.
“As we allege, the defendants orchestrated a brazen scam to trick unsuspecting businesses, consumers, and even their own employees—resulting in millions of stolen dollars,” said Schneiderman in a statement. “Companies are obligated to provide consumers with the goods and services they pay for and workers with fair pay—and my office will continue to hold those who try to shirk these legal responsibilities to account.”