A local Colorado new website, TimesCall.com, is reporting that AV123.com's Mark Schifter has just been indicted by a grand jury for up to 27 counts of misappropriating raffle money. The raffles were supposedly designed to benefit charities including the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, The Children's Hospital of Denver, Russian orphanages, the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross efforts to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. The indictment reportedly states that Schifter had no license and or the permission of each of the charities. Many of the charities report that they never received the money from the raffle events.
Mr. Schifter faces five counts including: Theft of $20,000 or more, Committing a computer crime to scheme or defraud $20,000 or more, Violating raffle law by failing to get a charitable gaming license, Charitable fraud and Use of an organization's name without authorization in connection with a charitable fraud.
In America we all are innocent until proven guilty yet even with that protection in place, there are many in the AV industry who are not surprised that "Shifty Schifter" is in trouble with the law. His success with Genesis Loudspeakers and Audio Alchemy in the 1990s are well documented. Schifter also went on to be an early player in the outsourcing of loudspeaker manufacturing to China as well as the online sale of speakers directly to the customer. Paired with his successes comes a laundry list of industry enemies who remember the questionable business practices, broken promises and breached contracts. Schifter is famous for saying "if you don't like it - sue me." Now it looks like the Colorado Attorney General is taking him up on the offer with some very serious allegations. Allegations that come months after Schifter is recovering from heart ailments say one contact close to Schifter.
A grand jury indicted Mark Schifter in February. He was accused of running 27 illegal charity raffles online between Oct. 18, 2004, and Aug. 25, 2009, at his company's primary website, www.AV123.com, and then keeping the money raised for himself. His company, Perpetual Technologies, sold high-end car audio equipment. For each raffle, a high-end piece of audio equipment was offered as a prize, according to the indictment.
According to the indictment, Schifter brought in $180,034 through the raffles, but only $29,500 was distributed to charities. Those charities included the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, The Children's Hospital of Denver, Russian orphanages, the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross' efforts to aid Hurricane Katrina victims.
More than 700 people participated in the raffles, according to Schifter's indictment, which noted that most charity officials were not aware their charities were named as beneficiaries.
Schifter was indicted on theft of $20,000 or more, committing a computer crime to scheme or defraud, violating raffle law by failing to obtain a charitable gaming license, and charitable fraud. Schifter accepted a plea deal with the Attorney General's Office in August. Under the deal, he faced up to eight years in prison and fines up to $750,000. He was sentenced Oct. 8, according to court records.
Pierrette J. Shields can be reached at 303-684-5273 or [email protected]