JavaPop co-founder pleads guilty to wire fraud
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | May 08,2013
BRATTLEBORO — The co-founder of JavaPop and Green Mountain Digital pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Tuesday to defrauding investors in the companies.
Paul C. Hendler was originally indicted on 14 counts stemming from his financial involvement with JavaPop, the Woodstock-based beverage company, and defrauding other investors in JavaPop and Green Mountain Digital, but pleaded guilty to two counts.
JavaPop was a bottled carbonated coffee-based drink.
Hendler was accused of bilking the two firms in addition to Dr. Paul Brown, Blueberry Hill Inn and actor Christopher Lloyd.
According to court records, Hendler used company funds for personal use, transferred the bulk of the company’s $100,000 line of credit into his personal bank and brokerage accounts, sold off company vehicles and pocketed the $56,000 in proceeds. Hendler will be sentenced in September, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples, who prosecuted the case.
Hendler remains free on release, Waples said, who also said he didn’t know what Hendler was currently doing.
Waples said that Hendler defrauded Brown of $140,000, as well as $56,000 from Brown to be used as a down payment on his Woodstock home at 21503 Orchard Hill Way.
Waples said the plea agreement in the case, which was reached in March, includes a recommendation from the U.S. attorney’s office that Hendler’s sentence be in the “lower half” of the guidelines for a fraud conviction.
Exactly what that sentence will be will be determined during a pre-sentence investigation conducted by the federal probation office, he said.
U.S. District Judge J. Garvan Murtha accepted Hendler’s plea to two of the charges. Under terms of the plea, Hendler agrees to forfeit his interest in his Woodstock home, Waples said.
According to the plea agreement, Hendler could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison, with a three-year term of supervised release, as well as a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater, for the wire fraud charge. The second charge carried a potential sentence of 10 years.
Also under the plea agreement, Murtha ordered full restitution to Brown, as well as to JavaPop Inc., Green Mountain Digital, Blueberry Hill, Christopher Lloyd, Green Chase LLC., Gigunda Group Inc., Ryan FitzSimons and Craig Creelman.