Debt Collector Pleads Guilty To Mail Fraud and Tax Evasion

January 7, 2011 Updated Jan 7, 2011 at 8:02 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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Debt Collector Pleads Guilty To Mail Fraud and Tax Evasion

January 7, 2011 Updated Jan 7, 2011 at 8:02 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y.-( release)- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Neil G. Wieczkowski, 42, of Buffalo, N.Y., pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion before Chief U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryEllen Kresse, who is handling the case, stated that between October 2006 and October 2009, Wieczkowski and his partner Timothy E. Arent, who has also been charged, were engaged in a fraudulent debt collection scheme. According to the Complaint filed against Wieczkowski and Arent, the defendants illegally purchased debtor information from two former employees of Capital Management Services, a Buffalo debt collection business. Those former employees, Thomas Rice and Andrew Jon Pytlewski, have pleaded guilty to stealing the debtor information and will be sentenced in February. Wieczkowski and Arent used the information to contact victims and coerce them into making payments on completely fictitious debt going so far as to identify themselves as law enforcement officers. During this three year period, Wieczkowski and Arent deposited approximately $6.8 million in checks written by over 1,000 victims from all over the country. Wieczkowski also admitted that he under-reported his business income in 2007 and 2008, resulting in a tax loss of approximately $60,000.

Arent is charged with mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bankruptcy fraud. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.