Seven Days and $5 Million For Mike Peppel is Shameful

The news that U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith sentenced former MCSi CEO, Mike Peppel, to only a $5 million fine and seven days in prison is shocking. And even more shocking was her explanation why.
In her ruling in court yesterday in Cincinnati, Ohio District Court, she said that ordering Peppel to pay more than $5 million would be impractical as there were so many MCSi employees and MCSi investors affected that it would be impossible to have restitution for all of them. She did say that he cannot serve as a corporate CEO (in title) again and has to do community service and submit to random drug testing.
So, technically, he can be “president” of a corporation — anyone looking for a new one?
I have to admit, I was one of those people who was enamored with Peppel back in the early 2000s — he put MCSi on the map as the nation’s largest integrator and he did it by buying out a lot of companies that were owned by my personal industry friends — people like Chris Miller, Sonny Davis, Ed Matthews and even John Fuchs. So when I met him, he already had established credibility as I thought to myself back then, ‘if they trust and like him, I should.’
So, sitting in his office filled with Notre Dame and San Francisco ’49ers memorabilia in late 2000 as we hammered out a deal for MCSi to contract my consulting company to design and develop a national AV training plan for its employees was fun. We went to lunch in his huge Hummer and dinner at the same restaurant the famous Dayton Accords were signed in November 1995. (The Dayton Accords put an end to the three and a half year long war in Bosnia, one of the armed conflicts in the former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia.)
How could you not be impressed? I could see how more than 20 AV dealers sold out to MCSi to form the U.S.’s first true national AV integrator.
So, we did the deal and a relationship was formed — we wrote over ten courses for MCSi by 2001.
And, although we were never paid in full for the course delivery, our losses were far from that of many in the AV industry who traded their company away for MCSi stock.
So, as I sit here in my office reading the news ( that Peppel is sentenced to only a $5 million fine and SEVEN DAYS in prison, all I can manage to say is — wow, what justice?
I feel sorry for Sonny, Ed, Chris and the over 1300 employees who lost their jobs, the many who lost their 401(k)s that were invested with MCSi stock and the countless others who were affected. In Mike Peppel’s words to the court yesterday, here is how he apologized: “I was too optimistic and naive and I was wrong, and I am sorry.”
So, apology accepted? You tell me — let me know by commenting on our story, sharing this on Facebook or via Twitter using the buttons below.