Recently two New York residents, Timothy Arent and Neil Wieczkowski, were convicted of mail fraud and tax evasion for their roles in a debt collection scheme.
From October 2006 through October 2009, Arent and Wieczkowski engaged in a fraudulent debt collection scheme. The two illegally purchased debtor information from two former employees of a Buffalo debt collection business and used the information to coerce the victims into paying fictitious debt. These former employees, Thomas Rice and Andrew Jon Pytlewski, pleaded guilty to stealing the debtor information and were sentenced to probation earlier this year.
The two men apparently impersonated law enforcement officers, attorneys, judges, paralegals and legal assistants in their attempt to bully their victims into paying their “debt” that was owed. Victims were threatened to be arrested if they did not make an immediate payment.
During the three years of their little operation they received around $6.8 million from over 1,000 victims across the country. The scheme netted Arent almost $5.7 million which he used to pay the mortgage and remodeling costs on his $500,000 West Ferry mansion, pay the salaries of Wieczkowski, a full time handy man, and a full time housekeeper, and to purchase such luxury items as antiques, furniture, jewelry, furs, artwork, high end vehicles, vacations and an in-ground pool. Wieczkowski received over $750,000 from the scheme, which he used to purchase luxury automobiles, antiques, and jewelry.
Of course, like many other idiot fraudsters, they didn’t pay taxes on their incomes from the scam which landed them with counts of tax evasion.
These men took advantage of debtors at a very vulnerable time – I personally think they should have received more time in jail than what they were sentenced with. Wieczkowski faces six years in prison and ordered to pay $60,000 to the IRS while Arent was sentenced to 12 and a half years and ordered to pay the IRS $780,000. However, both men have been ordered to pay $3.6 million in restitution to the victims of their scheme – Source.
Fake Debt Collectors Rip Off Thousands by Amanda Miller
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