Agent, Exec Sentenced in WWE Kickback Scheme

A former licensing agent for World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. and a former executive for the company were sentenced for their roles in a $1 million kickback scheme, federal prosecutors said.

Stanley Shenker was sentenced to 33 months in prison and three years of probation, and James K. Bell received an eight-month sentence and three years of probation.

Shenker pleaded guilty in January to conspiring to defraud WWE of honest services by paying about $1 million in kickbacks to Bell, a WWE insider. Bell pleaded guilty in 2005 to a related charge.

Shenker, the sole corporate officer of Stanley Shenker and Associates Inc., which provided licensing services to WWE, admitted that he agreed with Bell, WWE’s senior vice president of licensing and merchandising, to defraud WWE by paying kickbacks to Bell for future business and concealing the payments.

During the conspiracy from 1998 to 2002, Shenker secretly paid Bell about $950,000, a fraction of commissions Shenker received from WWE.

Shenker and Bell disguised the payments by falsely suggesting in invoices that Bell had earned the payments by providing consulting services.

With the fake invoices, Shenker was able to deduct the payments on his tax returns as purported business expenses.

Shenker was ordered as part of his sentencing to pay $2.8 million in restitution to WWE. Bell was ordered to pay a $6,000 fine and more than $950,000 in restitution.

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