Socialite to plead guilty to federal fraud charges

A New York socialite is expected to plead guilty to federal charges she duped corporations—including Indianapolis-based Roche Diagnostics Corp.—out of millions of dollars.

Dina Wein Reis would face no more than 31 months in prison if U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson accepts a plea agreement Thursday. The agreement alleges that Weis engaged in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The plea agreement also limits the financial penalties Reis might have to pay to $7 million.

Reis had been scheduled to go to trial this month in Indianapolis. She is accused of tricking corporations into selling her millions of dollars' worth of goods at a fraction of their regular price for use in nonexistent promotions, then reselling the goods at a profit.

A federal grand jury in Indianapolis indicted Reis on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy in 2008, saying she swindled companies in Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey and Kentucky.

A Roche executive, for example, persuaded the company to sell Reis her $11.6 million worth of diabetic test strips for $1.7 million, according to a 2007 lawsuit Roche filed against Reis. Roche later discovered that Reis' operation had tried to sell the strips to Walgreens for about $4.6 million, which led to the criminal probe. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount.

Court records show Reis' operation—under a variety of names—targeted dozens of other companies over the years, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Beech Nut, Nestle, Revlon and Kraft.

At least a half-dozen lawsuits have been filed against Reis, but the cases generally have been settled out of court. Many victims don't sue because they're embarrassed at having been had, said Donald deKieffer, a Washington, D.C., attorney who has helped prepare several lawsuits against Reis.

DeKieffer estimated Reis has made nearly $100 million over the years through the alleged scam. She has homes in New York, Florida and Jerusalem.
 

 

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