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Fraudulent debt collector gets 62 months in prison

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National Public Radio
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A Buffalo man has been convicted of running a fraudulent debt collection scheme, bilking more than $342,000 from victims.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Shawn Sylvia, 35, has been convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to 62 months in prison. Sylvia was also ordered to pay nearly $284,000 in restitution to victims.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Grisanti says Sylvia and others he managed used strong-arm tactics, including threats of arrest and lawsuits, to fraudulently collect on non-existent debts or over-collect on debts that had already been paid-in-full. They purported themselves to be from a variety of agencies, including American Mutual Holdings (AMH); Check Systems, LLC; Interstate Recovery Solutions; Apex Resolution Group; Interstate Check Registry; Miller and Flemming and Associates (MFA); Pasquale and Associates LLC; Checking Solutions; and Aries Resolution Group.

Victims were directed to transfer money or wire funds into bank accounts controlled by Sylvia. He then used victims' accounts to make credit card purchases.

Grisanti said between May 2013 and August 2017, Sylvia and his associates fraudulently obtained $342,303.