Two Former Honda Executives Sentenced in Massive Kickback Scam
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) _ Two former American Honda Motor Co. executives were sentenced to prison Monday for taking a cut of $15 million in kickbacks from businessmen and car dealers who wanted preferential treatment when Hondas were in short supply and high demand in the 1980s.
Thomas Caulfield of Foothill Ranch, Calif., was sentenced to two years in prison and was fined $67,000. The former assistant advertising manager pleaded guilty to mail fraud for receiving $816,000 in advertising kickbacks.
Robert Mazzitelli of Alpharetta, Ga., was sentenced to a year and eight months in prison and fined $10,000. The former Honda zone manager for the Southeast pleaded guilty to mail fraud for receiving $380,000 in dealer and advertising kickbacks.
Both had faced five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Executives received about $15 million in cash, jewelry, shopping sprees, automobiles and other perks from businessmen eager to do work for Honda and from dealers eager for extra lucrative franchises and scarce automobiles that could be sold for $3,000 above sticker prices.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Connolly said the $15 million apparently makes the case the nation’s largest kickback scheme.
Mazzitelli and Caulfield were among 16 former Honda and Acura executives, two former dealers, an advertiser and a lawyer who eventually pleaded guilty to charges including racketeering, perjury and mail fraud.
Two former executives, John Billmyer of Raleigh, N.C., and Dennis Josleyn of Loveland, Colo., were convicted in June and are appealing. The 20 remaining sentencings are scheduled through October.
The executive said to have received the most in kickbacks, Stanley James Cardiges of Laguna Hills, Calif., is to be sentenced Friday. The former top U.S. sales executive pleaded guilty to receiving thousands of dollars in kickbacks, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud. He faces 35 years in prison.