This week, it was announced that a man from Buffalo, New York had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. 35-year-old Shawn Sylvia of Buffalo faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Assistant United States Attorney Marie P. Grisanti stated that the defendant organized a fraud scheme to collect non-existent debts and to over-collect on debts that had already been paid in full.

Sylvia and others he managed contacted eight victims via the telephone claiming to be various organizations, including American Mutual Holdings, Check Systems LLC, Interstate Recovery Solutions, Apex Resolution Group, Interstate Check Registry, Miller and Flemming and Associates, Check Solutions, Aries Resolution, and Pasquale and Associates LLC.

The defendant used strong-arm tactics, including threats of arrest, jail and lawsuits, to persuade victims to make payments towards the debts they were told were outstanding. Victims made their payments using direct money transfers via Western Union and MoneyGram. The defendant used merchant accounts to process credit card payments made by victims.

Sylvia and others made false representations to the payment processing companies. They claimed they were running business entities that were involved in legal services, software sales, and investment services. As a result of chargebacks, the processing companies suffered losses.

Between May of 2013 and August of 2017, Sylvia and his associates obtained roughly $342,303 fraudulently. Sylvia is scheduled to be sentenced on April 3, 2017. Additional details can be found here.

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