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Fri Apr 21, 2017, 06:01 AM

Owner And CEO Of Debt Collection Company Sentenced For $31 Million Debt Collection Scheme

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/owner-and-ceo-debt-collection-company-sentenced-100-months-prison-orchestrating-31

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Owner And CEO Of Debt Collection Company Sentenced To 100 Months In Prison For Orchestrating $31 Million Debt Collection Scheme

Thousands of Consumers Victimized in Largest Debt Collection Scheme Ever Charged

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that TRAVELL THOMAS, the owner, chief executive officer (“CEO”), and president of Four Star Resolution (“Four Star”), a Buffalo, New York-based debt collection company, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to 100 months in prison for orchestrating a scheme to coerce thousands of victims across the country, through false threats and representations, into paying a total of more than $31 million to Four Star to resolve debts these victims purportedly owed. All 14 individuals charged in connection with the Four Star scheme have been convicted. THOMAS pled guilty on November 1, 2016, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud before U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Polk Failla, who also imposed today’s sentence.
(snip)

Between 2010 and February 2015, THOMAS was the co-owner, CEO, and president of Four Star. In that capacity, Thomas oversaw four debt collection offices operated by Four Star in Buffalo and a team of managers and debt collectors. As part of his scheme to defraud individuals throughout the United States, THOMAS falsely inflated the balances of debts owed by individuals in Four Star’s debt collection software so that THOMAS’s debt collectors could collect more money from the victims than the victims actually owed, a practice known within Four Star as “juicing” balances. THOMAS also placed purported debts with more than one of his offices so that multiple collectors from within Four Star could solicit and coerce a particular victim to repay a debt more than once.

As owner and president of Four Star, THOMAS drafted, approved, and disseminated debt collection scripts that contained a variety of misrepresentations and instructed his collectors to make those misrepresentations to consumers over the telephone. At THOMAS’s direction and under his supervision, Four Star’s debt collectors, using a variety of aliases, attempted to trick and coerce thousands of victims throughout the United States into paying millions of dollars in consumer debts through a variety of false statements and false threats, including that: (1) Four Star was affiliated with local government and law enforcement agencies, including the “county” and the district attorney’s office; (2) the consumers had committed criminal acts, such as “wire fraud” or “check fraud,” and if they did not pay the debt immediately, warrants or other process would be issued, at which point they would be arrested or hauled into court; (3) the victims would have their driver’s licenses suspended if they did not pay their debts immediately; (4) Four Star was a law firm or mediation firm and that Four Star’s employees were working with lawyers, a law firm, mediators, or arbitrators; and (5) a civil lawsuit would be filed, or was pending, against the victims for failing to pay their debts. THOMAS also approved an abusive and coercive “mailing campaign,” in which Four Star sent mailers to victims across the country that purported to be from courts and government agencies.

In total, from about January 2010 through November 2014, Four Star collected more than $31 million from thousands of victims across the United States. Of the money that Four Star took in from victims, approximately $1.5 million was paid in cash to THOMAS and his co-owner and co-defendant, Maurice Sessum, approximately $1.4 million was withdrawn from banks and ATMs, and hundreds of thousands of dollars were used to pay for THOMAS’s gambling expenses, season tickets for professional sports games, THOMAS’s wedding reception, and jewelry, among other expenses.
(snip)

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply Owner And CEO Of Debt Collection Company Sentenced For $31 Million Debt Collection Scheme (Original post)
nitpicker Apr 21 OP
TNNurse Apr 21 #1
Bernardo de La Paz Apr 21 #2
DFW Apr 21 #3
ehrnst Apr 21 #4
klook Apr 21 #9
Ligyron Apr 21 #5
grantcart Apr 21 #7
The Wizard Apr 21 #6
SunSeeker Apr 21 #8

Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Fri Apr 21, 2017, 07:45 AM

1. Maybe DeVos will be next.

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Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Fri Apr 21, 2017, 07:47 AM

2. tRump wants to put these companies on to collect IRS back payments. . . . nt

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Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Fri Apr 21, 2017, 07:57 AM

3. I once had one of these scam artists on my back

I participated in funding some show in New York City about 10 years ago, and there was some obscure tax due I didn't even know about. Until, that is, I got a an official-looking letter from a New York (same guys? I don't remember) agency looking for $150,000. I figured this had to be a mistake, so I called the agency, and they said they could stop the interest from accumulating if I sent them a good faith downpayment of $30,000. This sounded crazy, so I called a cousin who works for the NYC Tax Court. She said the same people tried to fleece her husband for some crazy sum for a pure case of mistaken identity. I had a friend do some digging, and he found that I did indeed owe the State of New York $2000 or so in back taxes for some labor tax, and they had the wrong address for me, so I never knew about it. I got that straightened out, paid the State of New York their $2000, and that was that. Even so, the debt collectors kept trying for the next six months to fleece me for $150,000 before they finally gave up.

The more of these sleazeballs that land in jail, the better. As far as I'm concerned, every single one of them can rot in there until they're ripe for a cemetery plot.

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Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Fri Apr 21, 2017, 07:58 AM

4. I still donate to one of the last vestiges of Occupy Wall Street - Rolling Jubilee

They purchase medical debt at pennies on the dollar, like debt collectors do, and then forgive the debt.

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Response to ehrnst (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 21, 2017, 11:42 PM

9. Thanks for the reminder

Great operation, and well worth supporting.

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Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Fri Apr 21, 2017, 08:24 AM

5. Think we'll see many prosecutions of these scum under Trump and Sessions?

Not likely.

The American heartland has really fucked themselves good and us too in the process.

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Response to Ligyron (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 21, 2017, 08:38 AM

7. Just those started u see Obama

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Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Fri Apr 21, 2017, 08:24 AM

6. Trump's new Treasuty Secretary (NT)

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Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Fri Apr 21, 2017, 08:53 AM

8. Fucking scumbag. 100 months is not long enough, but a good start.

Travell Thomas designed a business plan to steal from the debt-ridden poor. He should never see the light of day IMO.

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