Former Bank Executive Admits Receiving Bribes from Oxford Collection Agency
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 22, 2013|
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that WILBUR TATE III, 49, of Dacula, Georgia, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to receiving bribes while he was an executive at U.S. Bank in Ohio.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Oxford Collection Agency 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 Collection Agency executives engaged in a multi-year scheme to defraud its lender, investors, and clients. The investigation also revealed that Oxford Collection Agency was actively involved in bribing bank officials.
TATE, an assistant vice president of U.S. Bank in Ohio from January 2004 through February 2011, was in charge of outsourcing collection accounts to collection agencies, including Oxford Collection Agency. Beginning in approximately August 2008 and continuing for more than two years, Oxford Collection Agency executives engaged in a bribery scheme with TATE in order to obtain and retain the business of U.S. Bank. As part of the scheme, Oxford executives initially provided TATE with boxes of expensive cigars and subsequently sent TATE monthly cash payments of between $2,500 and $5,000, which were hidden in cigar boxes and mailed to TATE’s residence in Mason, Ohio.
U.S. Bank received funds through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
TATE was arrested on February 27, 2013. Today, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank bribery, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years. Judge Underhill has scheduled sentencing for February 18, 2014.
Six other individuals have been convicted as a result of this investigation and prosecution of criminal activity arising from Oxford Collection Agency and the debt collection industry.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted 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.