A pair of individuals have been found guilty by a jury for their roles in a debt collection scam that bilked individuals out of more than $6 million. The pair — Laurence Sessum and Jacqueline Dianne Okomba — were found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and are facing up to 20 years in prison for each count on which they were convicted when they are sentenced.
Sessum was also found guilty of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and obstruction of justice. Okomba was also found guilty of obstruction of justice.
Sessum operated a fake collection agency, called Direct Processing LLC, and collectors intimidated and harassed individuals into making payments on debts that were either non-existent or had already been paid.
Prosecutors called in victims of the scheme to testify during the trial. One victim testified that she was contacted and told she owed $2,500 to a credit card company. Told there was a warrant out for her arrest and thinking her ex-husband had made the charges, she paid the fraudsters, not knowing the debt did not exist. As well, a former collector testified against Sessum and Okomba and detailed the limits that collectors would go to try and get a payment from an unsuspecting individual.
The defendants also sent victims documents that were made to look like legal documents that had been filed in court.
When the defendants learned that the Federal Bureau of Investigations had seized funds in one of Direct Processing’s bank accounts, they removed computers, documents, and records from the company’s offices. The FBI executed a search warrant and found monitors at the work stations, but no computers. When asked where the they were, Sessum said the company did not own any computers.