Published On: Wed, Oct 10th, 2018

Buffalo man, Shawn Sylvia, sentenced in debt collection phone scam

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Shawn Sylvia, 35, of Buffalo, NY, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, was sentenced to serve 62 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The defendant was also ordered to pay $283,851.53 in restitution to victims.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti, who handled the case, stated that the defendant organized a scheme fraudulently to collect on non-existent debts and over-collect on debts that had been paid-in-full. Sylvia, or other individuals he managed, contacted eight victims via telephone purporting to be from organizations which included: American Mutual Holdings (AMH); Check Systems, LLC; Interstate Recovery Solutions; Apex Resolution Group; Interstate Check Registry; Miller and Flemming and Associates (MFA); Pasquale and Associates LLC; Checking Solutions; or Aries Resolution Group.

photo/ Michael Jarmoluk via pixabay

The defendant and others used strong-arm tactics including threats of arrest, jail, and lawsuits to convince victims to make payments toward what they were told were outstanding debts. Victims were directed to transfer money via MoneyGram and Western Union and to wire funds into bank accounts controlled by the defendant or his associates. Merchant accounts were established with two merchant processing companies in order to process credit card payments made by victims. In creating those merchant accounts, Sylvia and others made false representations to the payment processing companies claiming that the business entities they operated were engaging in legal services, investment services, and software sales. The payment processing companies suffered losses as a result of chargebacks of payments as a result of unauthorized and fraudulent charges.

Between May 2013 and August 2017, Sylvia and his associates fraudulently obtained a total of $342,303.

Today’s sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert.

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