Debt Collection Agency Executive Pleads Guilty to Bank Bribery Charge
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 17, 2013|
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Patrick Pinto, 44, of Bohemia, New York, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to one count of conspiring to commit bank bribery while he was an executive of Oxford Collection Agency.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Oxford Collection Agency (Oxford) was a private financial services company that engaged in accounts receivables management, primarily debt collecting, with offices in New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Between 2007 and 2011, Oxford executives engaged in a multi-year scheme to defraud its lender, Connecticut-based Webster Bank, as well as its investors, clients, and the commercial debtors that Oxford collected from. Oxford’s victims lost more than $12 million as a result of this scheme.
The investigation also revealed that Oxford sometimes obtained and retained business with its banking clients by paying bribes and kickbacks to bank officials. As part of the scheme, Pinto, a vice president of Oxford, and other Oxford executives made monthly payments of between $2,500 and $3,500, which were hidden in cigar boxes, to an assistant vice president of U.S. Bank in Ohio.
U.S. Bank and Webster Bank received funds through the U.S. Department of the Treasury Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
Judge Underhill has scheduled sentencing for September 9, 2013, at which time Pinto faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Pinto has been released on a $50,000 bond since his arrest on December 7, 2012.
In May 2012, Richard Pinto, Oxford Collection Agency’s chairman of the Board, and his son, Peter Pinto, Oxford’s president and chief executive officer, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering and one count of wire fraud stemming from this scheme. In December 2012, Oxford Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer Randall Silver, Executive Vice President Charles Harris, and Chief Operations Officer Carlos Novelli also pleaded guilty to various charges.
On January 30, 2013, Richard Pinto, who is now deceased, was sentenced to 60 months of imprisonment. The other defendants await sentencing.
Patrick Pinto is the son of the late Richard Pinto.
This matter is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), and the Connecticut Securities, Commodities, and Investor Fraud Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Liam Brennan and Special U.S. Attorney John McReynolds.
In December 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and several law enforcement and regulatory partners announced the formation of the Connecticut Securities, Commodities, and Investor Fraud Task Force, which is investigating matters relating to insider trading, market manipulation, Ponzi schemes, investor fraud, financial statement fraud, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and embezzlement. The task force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Fraud Section and Antitrust Division; U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC); Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); Office of the Chief State’s Attorney; State of Connecticut Department of Banking; Greenwich Police Department and Stamford Police Department.
Citizens are encouraged to report any financial fraud schemes by calling, toll-free, 855-236-9740 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants.
To report financial fraud crimes and to learn more about the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.