ALL POSTSDavidovich BakeryDavidovich NYC Bagel & Sandwich ShopDennis MasonJoe SmithMarc FintzMarc ZirogiannisNY BAGEL CAFENY Bagel ScamNYC BAGEL SCAMSean KellySPOTLIGHT 1

NY Bagel Scam Joe Smith Federal Fraud Trial to Begin

NY Bagel scammer Joseph Smith, formerly of Newburgh, NY is going to trial on Federal charges of Fraud, Tax Fraud & conspiracy later this month.  It’s been 10 years since the Unhappy Franchisee watchdog site & publisher Sean Kelly began posting warnings and filing complaints with state & federal franchise and law enforcement agencies. 
NY Bagel scam victims supplied Kelly with the information and documents that ultimately prompted two separate FBI investigations, a Grand Jury indictment and, ultimately, federal criminal charges against Smith and his notorious partner Dennis Mason.  by Sean Kelly

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  Since we began posting warnings about the unscrupulous franchise seller Dennis Mason (aka ) back in July, 2012, our public reporting and appeals to regulators and law enforcement agencies resulted in numerous state investigations, three official state enforcement actions, and fines in excess of $1,000,000 against the perpetrators of the NY Bagel franchise scam Joseph Smith & Dennis Mason (aka Brian Scofield, aka Keith Samuel).

Davidovich Bagel franchiseMinor victories along the way included convincing several legitimate real estate and finance companies to drop them as clients, getting their Florida accomplice fired from his finance position, and getting  Davidovitch NYC Bagel very publicly ejected halfway through the MFV Franchise Expo in New York.

During the course of my campaign to end the NY Bagel scam, I had to fend off personal and professional attacks against both me and my family members, including defamatory email campaigns and libelous attack websites (some of which still remain visible).

However, cooperating NY Bagel victims and I were relentless in our efforts.  Eventually,  until a second FBI commenced and, despite frustrating periods of silence, resulted in Department of Justice Charges first against Dennis Mason and later, Joseph Smith.

Despite all that, I am hopeful it will all be worth it when, on November 22, 2021 at 9:30 in Courtroom 11-A in the Federal Courthouse in Philadelphia, Joseph Smith will face federal criminal charges for:

  • Conspiracy (1 count),
  • Wire Fraud (2 counts)
  • Tax Evasion (3 counts) and
  • Failure to File Tax Returns (3 counts)

Dennis Mason has been charged separately and has struck a plea deal.  His sentencing has been delayed, perhaps until Joe Smith’s trial is completed.  His charges, so far, include:

  • Conspiracy (1)
  • Wire Fraud (2)

NY Bagel Scam Stopped

Federal Grand Jury Indictment of Joe Smith for Wire Fraud, Conspiracy & Tax Evasion

According the Grand Jury Superceding Indictment of Joseph Smith:

3. Starting as early as 2008, Dennis Mason sold New York Bagel franchises on behalf of defendant JOSEPH SMITH.  Dennis Mason provided information to prospective franchisees about among other things, the cost to open a franchise, the availability of financing, and the profits made by existing franchises.

Between 2008 and 2018, Dennis Mason sold more than 160 New York Bagel franchises. These prospective franchisees paid more than $2.1 million in franchise fees to New York Bagel.

4. The fee that prospective franchisees paid to New York Bagel ranged between $7,500 and $44,500. Defendant JOSEPH SMITH shared a percentage of these franchise fees with Dennis Mason.

5. Defendant JOSEPH SMITH and Dennis Mason communicated with prospective franchisees using interstate communications, including e-mails and telephone calls.

6. From in or about 2008 through on or about July 25, 2018, in the Eastem District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, defendant … with Dennis Mason, and other persons unknown… knowingly executing and attempting to execute a scheme to defraud prospective franchisees and to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises…

The Indictment Includes Claims We’ve Documented Since 2011:

The superceding indictment lays out the same claims

8.  Made material misrepresentations to prospective franchisees about the profitability of the franchise.

In particular, defendant JOSEPH SMITH and Dennis Mason understated the startup costs, overstated the number of franchises that were up and running, overstated the success of existing franchises, and falsely promised that additional franchises would be opened in the future.
9.  Placed advertisements using interstate communications, such as Craigslist.
10. Made material misrepresentations and false guarantees about the ability of New York Bagel to arrange financing for the prospective franchisee.
11. Made false and inconsistent statements to prospective franchisees.
12. Obtained franchise fees from more than 160 prospective franchisees.
13. Accepted payments of franchise fees using personal checks, cashier’s checks, and credit card payments.
14. Refused to refund franchisee fees paid by prospective franchisees who learned of the material misrepresentations.

Thanks to the Victims Who Came Forward, The FBI, The Department of Justice, The Unhappy Franchisee Blog, the NY Bagel Scam is Over

It took nearly a decade and a lot of hard and frustrating work, but Joseph Smith & Dennis Mason have been exposed and their scam ads no longer appear on Craig’s List or elsewhere.

No matter what the trial outcome, the scam has been exposed and with it the problems in our system that let it go on for so long.

Also read:

Grand Jury Superceding Indictment of Joseph Smith

U.S. v. Dennis Mason, a/k/a “Brian Scofield”, a/k/a “Keith Samuel” Criminal Charges

NY Bagel Franchise Scam Links & Complaint Timeline



TAGS: franchise fraud trial, Joseph Smith, Joe Smith, Dennis Mason, Marc Fintz, Marc Zirogiannis, Sean Kelly, Unhappy Franchisee, New York Bagel, NY Bagel Cafe NYC Bagel scam,  Davidovich NYC Bagel & Sandwich Shop, Davidovich bakery, Davidovich Bagels, Davidovich franchise, NY Bagel Cafe scam, NYC Bagel franchise

11 thoughts on “NY Bagel Scam Joe Smith Federal Fraud Trial to Begin

  • Great job, Sean.
    While innocent until proven guilty applies here, it’s great to see people who have cashed checks from Franchise Fees obtained from hard-working folks who just wanted to take their shot at The American Dream-face the music.
    And in a perfect world, music they’re not going to like.
    Finally, while franchising isn’t perfect, and there still are bad actors, doing great research is the key.
    The Franchise King®
    Joel Libava

  • David

    I’d like to think I had something to do with ending Dennis’s fraud with Java’s Brewin’. He lied to us about everything, even paying a desperate franchisee to misreport to us their monthly earnings so I’d buy in. It drove me into personal bankruptcy. But we started a simple website, “Java’s Brewin lies,” drove it up to the top of a google search, and within three months, Chris Gregoris and Dennis Mason stopped selling franchises.. Sadly, Dennis put out a different shingle with NY Bagel. What a fraudulent and evil man. I can’t imagine stealing from people over and over and over again, bankrupting them so they can’t afford to sue, and then barely escaping the law to do it all over again. He must be stopped.

  • Gordon Cunningham

    Well done Sean! Anyone who’s challenged Smith and Mason has experienced bullying and intimidation so kudos to you for sticking with this and hopefully getting the final result that we all want which is taking fraudsters down. Can’t thank you enough for your efforts!!


    Yes, David, kudos to you! You were one of the first to stand up to him, if not the first.

    Dennis Mason went from brand to brand for a long time… Petrucci’s, Mike Schmidt’s Hoagies, Horn & Hardart, Morrone’s Italian Ice.

    He damaged a lot of franchisors also. I remember coming in to try to repair some of the damage he did at Morrone’s by selling to the wrong people, setting the wrong expectations but it ended up sinking them.

    Thanks for your contribution, keeping in touch and speaking out. Hopefully he’ll get some time in a prison cell for the pain he’s caused.


    Thanks, Joel. You’re one of the few willing to speak the truth.

    I wish legitimate franchisors would see the light and realize that WE aren’t the ones hurting franchising – it’s these charlatans who have been allowed to operate unchallenged.

    Meanwhile, they drain the pool of qualified franchisees and put good franchisors – who are restrained by things like truth – at a competitive disadvantage.

    I think 2022 is the year we change things up.

  • Pierre A Sims

    Hopefully justice will be served. Thank you for hanging in there to stop bad guys. Dennis and Joe hurt the business and hurt a lot of people including me. I have been hurting since 2010 and still feeling the pain. Thank you for your persistence and concern.

  • Pierre A Sims

    Hopefully justice will be served. Thank you for hanging in there to stop these bad guys. Dennis and Joe hurt the business and hurt a lot of people including me. I have been hurting since 2010 and still feeling the pain. Thank you for your persistence and concern.

  • Rick Spolter

    Joe Smith is a bad, bad guy. Nuff said.

  • Keith Bryant

    What was the outcome of this trial? Very interested in knowing since I was a vitim, as well.

  • It took me all of ten days to fire Dennis Mason. This character was perhaps one of the most alarming criminals in franchising that I had ever come across. I haven’t researched the docket nor the outcome of the case if it’s been tried, but I hope it includes sentencing and restitution as well. It is only people like Sean and the incredibly injured Franchisees and Ex-Franchisees that can ultimately put an end to miscreant criminal individuals like Dennis Mason. In this case there is no “innocent until proven guilty” as together their guilt is well documented and testified to. Anyone that actually knows of these two, and Dennis Mason, in particular, knows just how guilty they are. No court of law in this land could possibly see otherwise.

  • Justice is being served, not as much as we would like to see. We invested in a dream and it turned out to be a nightmare! Dennis Mason even told me he was a veteran to gain our trust(I am a disabled veteran). People like these two scumbags deserve to be behind bars. They are much safer in prison because I’m not there. I want those two clowns to remember, prison rape is real…….rot you bastards!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *