Year In Review : 2011 – Year of the Felony

Canada had a difficult time trying to figure out how to handle alleged Ponzi schemer Tzvi Erez, the owner of print brokerage E Graphix who was accused of defrauding 70 investors of $27 million. At first, the Ontario Crown Attorney’s Office withdrew the charges in part because the court “lacked the resources to go after Erez.” But a new set of charges were filed in October, claiming Erez stole $9 million from investors through phony printing contracts. He was due back in court this month.

In one of the more odder developments of the year, publisher Condé Nast fell victim to a phishing scam of sorts. Its accounts payable department, acting on what it believed to be a request from Sussex, WI-based Quad/Graphics to send work payments to another bank account (“Quad Graph”), wired $8 million between Nov. 17 and Dec. 30, 2010. The con job was discovered when the real Quad/Graphics reached out to Condé Nast regarding outstanding payments. The money was recovered.

Vertis Inc. completed a refinancing plan through a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. The recapitalization was expected to strengthen the Baltimore-based firm’s capital structure by reducing its total debt by about 60 percent.

Quad/Graphics announced it was closing a direct mail facility in Fredericksburg, VA, eliminating 300 employees, while shedding another 400 employees from its Mt. Morris, IL, plant, which was subsequently closed. A smaller downsize, at its Depew, NY, location, led to 95 layoffs. Quad/Graphics later divulged that it was halting production at its Richmond, VA, and Stillwater, OK, plants, impacting 365 positions.

Cenveo Inc., of Stamford, CT, made a pair of moves, buying the Envelope Products Group from MeadWestvaco, and Impaxx, owner of Gilbreth Packaging Solutions in Croydon, PA. Meanwhile, Walsworth Publishing, Marceline, MO, struck a deal to acquire IPC Print Services of St. Joseph, MI. The yearbook specialist also invested $3 million in new printing equipment.

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