A Buffalo-area man who scammed at least eight individuals out of more than $340,000 has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Shawn Sylvia, 35, faces a penalty of up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 3.
Sylvia and others involved in his scheme would call individuals and strong-arm them into making payments on non-existing debts or making payments on debts that had already been paid in full. The companies that Sylvia claimed to be working on behalf of were: American Mutual Holdings, Check Systems LLC, Interstate Recovery Solutions, Apex Resolution Group, Interstate Check Registry, Miller and Flemming and Associates, Pasquale and Associates LLC, Checking Solutions, and Aries Resolution Group.
Among the tried-and-true tactics used by scammers to persuade individuals to make payments on non-existent debts, Sylvia and his cohorts threatened imprisonment and lawsuits if payments were not made. Sylvia and his crew obtained two merchant accounts by alleging that the businesses they were engaged in were legitimate companies engaged in legal services, investment services, and software sales. The unnamed payment processing companies suffered undisclosed losses as a result of chargebacks from individuals who had been scammed.