Six residents of North Carolina are facing civil and criminal charges and are planning to plead guilty to running a debt collection that bilked consumers out of 6 million, according to a published report.
The individuals are all facing charges of engaging in a fraudulent debt collection conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. One of the group is also facing one count of money laundering. The conspiracy charge carries a term of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The money laundering charge carries a term of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Individuals were contacted and they and their family members were harassed into paying non-existent debts, according to the report. A U.S. attorney warned individuals in the report that just because someone claiming to be a debt collector knows personal information about you, that does not mean that the collector is legitimate. The report does not go into detail about how the phony collectors knew information about the individuals they were contacting.
All six members implicated in the scam — Michael Boughner, Isaac Humberto Gonzalez, Cynthia Martinez, Benjamin Murray, and Felicia Shaw — have agreed to plead guilty and acknowledged their roles in the conspiracy. A fraudulent collection agency that used Capital Solutions Agency, Berkeley Hughes and Associates, and Vortex Group was involved in the scam as well. Court records indicate the collection agency was owned by Cedric Clark.