Mitchell E. Green of Westport, Connecticut has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges, stemming from a time when he worked for a liquor company owned by rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.
According to court documents, Green worked for Sire Spirits from June 2017 to February 2020. During that time, Green is accused of negotiating side deals with two French distilleries that would pay him kickbacks for champagne and cognac purchased by Sire. Those kickbacks were paid for by an increase in the per-bottle price paid by Sire.
Sire ultimately paid $14.8 million for champagne and cognac during that time, while Green received $2.19 million in kickbacks.
“Though he was supposed to negotiate the best deal possible for his employer, Green set up secret side deals to inflate what his employer paid so that he could reap millions of dollars in kickbacks,” said U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, the prosecutor on the case, in a statement. “Companies must be able to rely on the integrity of their agents to conduct business.”
The company and its owner are not named in these documents but Green settled a separate civil suit for the same infractions in arbitration in late 2022. In that suit, Sire Spirits was awarded more than $6 million from Green, including more than $3 million in compensatory damages. The remaining funds covered attorney’s fees, interest, and other compensation.
Green filed for bankruptcy in early 2023, but the company filed a complaint arguing that the bankruptcy filing shouldn’t stop him from paying the damages since the money was obtained through illegal means. According to AllHipHop.com, Green failed to respond to the petition and has therefore defaulted. The court issued a Property Execution Order which allows the company to collect debts owed from the judgment.
The criminal charge of wire fraud carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a fine, the amount which is determined based on damages. Sentencing is scheduled for January 23rd of next year.