BUFFALO, N.Y.-- United States Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr.
announced today that Thomas Rice, 37, of Amherst, New York, who was convicted on Oct. 29, 2010 of a felony charge of selling debtor
information which was the property of a federally insured bank, was
sentenced to three years probation and an $80,000 fine by Chief U.S.
District Judge William J. Skretny.
Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryEllen Kresse, who handled the case,
stated that the defendant had been convicted of stealing personal
identification information of thousands of debtors from the computer
files of Capital Management Services ("CMS"), a Buffalo debt collection business where the defendant worked as a Director. The information the defendant stole actually belonged to financial institutions which had contracted with CMS to collect debts owed by such debtors. The defendant thereafter sold the information to Timothy E. Arent and Neil G. Wieczkowski, who used it to scare victims into paying entirely made up debts that the victims allegedly owed. Both Arent and Wieczkowski have pled guilty to operating a fraudulent debt collection scheme that victimized consumers nationwide, and netted Arent and Wieczkowski millions of dollars. During the period from September 2006 through August 2008, the defendant received approximately $80,000 for the information he provided to Arent and Wieczkowski.
U.S. Attorney Hochul stated "This case demonstrates the
commitment of my Office and our law enforcement partners to prosecuting any person who would prey against the vulnerable of society."
The conviction was the culmination of an investigation on the
part of the Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of
Inspector-in-Charge Robert Bethel, and the Internal Revenue Service,
under the direction of Special Agent-In-Charge Charles Pine.