Ex-Poison the Well Bassist Sentenced to Prison for Fraudulent Light Bulb Scheme
If you’re gonna sell light bulbs, you’d better be on the up-and-up. Alan Landsman, former bassist for Poison the Well, has been sentenced to between 30-72 months in prison for conspiring to commit mail fraud.
According to the United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office of Maryland, a telemarketing business called Midway Industries ran a scam for over a decade, making more than $50 million from fraudulent invoices. Landsman was one of seven co-conspirators indicted in the case.
The bassist spent more than a year with Poison the Well and played on their landmark 1999 album, The Opposite of December. Landsman was kicked out of Poison the Well in 2000 after a falling out with the band.
As for the fraud scheme, Justice.gov reads, “From 2003 through 2014, Midway employees would cold-call businesses making false representations, including that the business had an existing business relationship with Midway. During these cold-calls, the conspirators sought to obtain the personal information of an ‘authorized representative’ for the business, which the Midway collections department could use later to justify an order … The conspirators misrepresented that the balance of the victim’s order, or their ‘regular seasonal order’ had recently been shipped, despite no order having been made by the victim business, and no actual shipment having yet been sent. When the authorized representative at a business could not be reached, [Midway] would simply send the product and an inflated invoice to the victim, without the victim placing an order.”
Midway would regularly inflate the prices of light bulbs and cleaning supplies by 900 percent, and sometimes up to 8000 percent. When victims did not remit payment, Midway would repeatedly call in order to force them to pay the inflated invoices.
Landsman and his co-conspirators were sentenced to prison time on Sept. 5.
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