Shawn Sylvia, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a fraudulent debt collection scheme was sentenced yesterday to 62 months in prison and ordered to repay more than $283,000.
Sylvia’s sister, Judi Sylvia, has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and is facing up to 20 years in prison.
The defendants used strong-arm and intimidation tactics to collect on non-existent debts and over-collect on debts that had already been paid in full, according to the Justice Department. Among the company names used by the defendants were: 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; or Aries Resolution Group.
The victims were told to make payments via Western Union or MoneyGram that were wired into bank accounts controlled by the defendants. The defendants also opened two merchant accounts to process credit card payments from victims of the scam. The defendants lied to the payment processing companies to obtain the merchant accounts, saying they were engaged in providing legal services, investment services, and software sales.
During the four years the scam was in operation, the defendants fraudulently collected more than $340,000.
The defendants threatened that victims would be arrested or jailed if they did not make payments on the debts, which either did not exist or had been paid in full.