A pair of Texas debt collectors are each facing up to 20 years in prison when they are sentenced later this year, after both pleaded guilty to collecting $2 million worth of unpaid debts on behalf of contractors and then not remitting the payments.
The two men, Robert Marano and Paul Dominguez, have each pleaded guilty to one one count of mail fraud. Dominguez is sent to be sentenced in late July; Marano in early August.
As far as the scam goes, it was pretty simple. The men were hired by up to 200 contractors to collect on unpaid debts from the contractors’ clients. Anything that Marano and Dominguez collected, they kept, instead of keeping their commission and handing over the rest to their clients.
Individuals contacted by the collectors were told to make payments to a separate company owned by Dominguez and Marano, according to prosecutors. The funds were cashed and the collectors kept the money, instead of handing most of what was collected back to their clients and just retaining their commission.
The money, as can be expected, was used to fuel a “lavish” lifestyle, according to prosecutors, including trips to Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Miami, and the purchase of sportscars, pick-up trucks, and motorcycles.
“The defendants preyed on the financial desperation of these client contractors who were owed large sums of money from former customers,” the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas said in a statement. “The defendants deceived these client contractors by falsely representing to the client contractors that the defendants would honestly collect and pass on funds collected from former customers.”