Debbie Seright from Niagara Falls, N.Y., is facing up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 after she pleaded guilty on Friday to charges stemming from running a debt collection scheme that $1.1 million in payments, many of which coerced through intimidation or made on debts that were already paid in full.
Seright will be sentenced in July.
She is accused of operating at least six supposed collection agencies. Some of the names the agencies used were Lakeside Mediations, Lincoln Mediation, Valentine Legal Mediation, First Point Mediation, State Filing and Legal Services, and Elite Services.
Seright allegedly trained employees to use intimidation tactics, such as using fake names and false identities, threatening to have individuals arrested for not making payments, and claiming that criminal charges had already been filed against individuals with unpaid debts.
Prosecutors also alleged that Seright and her employees “routinely” collected on debts that knew had already been paid in full and went back and collected money again from people they had previously collected from. Those individuals were called “easy targets” in Seright’s offices.
The scam was first publicized last summer, when six individuals, including Seright, were charged with their roles in the scam.