A Lockport, N.Y., woman who was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud as part of a debt collection scam has been sentenced to 12 months in prison by a District Court judge on Friday.
Shauniqua Rodriguez is the fifth defendant to be convicted in the case and the third member of the ring to be sentenced to prison. The other members of the collection ring included Joseph Ciffa, Carmelo Collana, Damario Turpin, Debbie Seright, and Erica Lounsberry. Last June, Seright was sentenced to 24 months in prison for her role in the scam, which collected more than $1.1 million in payments for intimidating and harassing individuals and going back and collecting on debts after they had already been paid. The individuals involved in the scam have also been permanently barred from participating in the debt collection industry.
Rodriguez pleaded guilty in March 2019.
Rodriguez participated in a scheme that was allegedly spearheaded by Ciffa, according to the Department of Justice. Ciffa pleaded guilty to a number of felonies last year for his part in bilking $22 million in fraudulent payments from individuals during a scam that ran for four years.
Even though they knew the debts had already been satisfied, Rodriguez used false representations as to her identity, false threats of arrest, and claims of criminal charges against the people she was calling to make payments, according to prosecutors. The company Rodriguez worked for operated under the names Lakeside Mediations, Lincoln Mediation, Valentine Legal Mediation, First Point Mediation, State Filing and Legal Services, and Elite Services.
Rodriguez was cited as only being an “intermittent” employee of the agencies involved in the scam, but she also was involved in training other employees to collect debts they knew had already been paid.