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ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- A former grocery retailer here was sentenced to 50 months in prison for his part in stealing $6.4 million from Nestle USA Inc.
Vincent Marchese, 51, who owned the Food 4 Less supermarket on Lehigh Street, was also ordered to pay full restitution.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud and one count of filing a false tax return, for defrauding the corporation from 2001 to 2005.
Marchese's sentence is below the recommended 63-74 month range in part because he has cooperated with authorities.
Henry Machinski, a former Nestle sales manager who sold products to A&P supermarkets and who was also involved in the scheme, will be sentenced next week.
Prosecutors said Machinski, who was authorized to write Nestle checks for as much as $20,000 in promotion payments, devised a scheme whereby he created false invoices from an "AP Foods," which had no connection to the real A&P stores, and wrote checks to Marchese, who in turn opened a bank account for the fictitious AP Foods.
Machinski's attorney said in September the two men spent the bulk of the stolen millions on gambling junkets to Atlantic City, and were stopped when Nestle auditors discovered the theft during a routine audit and confronted Machinski, who confessed.