Tarpon Springs Man Sentenced to More Than 10 Years in False Invoice Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 14, 2014|
TAMPA, FL—U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday today sentenced Otto Biltres (42, Tarpon Springs) to 10 years and one month in federal prison for wire fraud and identity theft. As part of the sentence, the court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $2.7 million, the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct. Biltres pleaded guilty on November 25, 2013.
According to court documents, during a three-year period, Biltres, the owner of Biltres Staffing of Tampa Bay LLC (Biltres Staffing), a temporary employee staffing company, submitted a series of false and fraudulent invoices to TempPay Inc., an Ohio-based factoring company. “Factoring” is a financial transaction in which a business sells its accounts receivable (invoices) to a third party (the factor) at a discount. The factor advances a percentage of the face amount of the invoice to the business and collects the full amount from the customer in due course. The factor then pays the balance to the business minus the factor’s commission and other fees. The invoices in this case purportedly related to four companies to which Biltres was supplying temporary employees. In truth, Biltres’ company had no business relationship with those entities. In order to create the illusion that the bogus invoices were genuine, Biltres opened post office boxes, bank accounts, e-mail accounts, and websites in the names of the purported client companies. He gradually increased the amounts of the fraudulent invoices over time and used proceeds obtained through later fraudulent invoices to repay earlier fraudulent invoices. When the scheme was detected, TempPay suffered a loss in excess of $2.7 million.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bob Mosakowski.