Former collection agency executive Patrick Pinto pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiring to commit bank bribery while he was an executive of Oxford Collection Agency, according to Deirdre M. Daly, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill scheduled sentencing for September 9, at which time Pinto faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000. He has been released on a $50,000 bond since his arrest on December 7, 2012.

Oxford Collection Agency was a private financial services company, that mostly engaged in debt collections, and had offices in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida. Between 2007 and 2011, Oxford executives took part in a scheme to defraud its lender, Connecticut-based Webster Bank, as well as its investors, consumer clients and commercial debtor clients.

Oxford’s victims lost more than $12 million as a result of this scheme. 

An earlier investigation 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 at the firm, and other Oxford executives made monthly payments of between $2,500 and $3,500 that 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).

In May 2012, Richard Pinto, Patrick's father and former chairman of the board at Oxford, and son, Peter Pinto, Oxford’s former president and CEO, 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.

Richard Pinto in January was sentenced to 60 months of imprisonment. He has since died.

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.

Those defendants, and Peter Pinto, await sentencing.

In February, Wilbur Tate III, a former assistant vice president of U.S. Bank in Ohio, was arrested on a federal criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy to commit bank bribery. Tate, who worked as the bank's assistant vice president between January 2004 and February 2011, appeared was released on a $50,000 bond and there have been no new developments in the case.

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