Former U.S. Bank employee Wilbur Tate III, believed to be the man accused of taking bribes from a Florida-based debt buyer in a case that surfaced this week, pleaded guilty last fall to accepting kickbacks from another firm, defunct Oxford Collection Agency, and is currently awaiting sentencing in that case.
Tate, 49, is a former assistant vice president of U.S. Bank in Ohio. He left the company in 2011.
Leonard G. Potillo III, the owner of United Credit Recovery, based in Orlando, Fla., was arrested Monday and charged with bribinga U.S. Bank executive to obtain inside information on the sale of debt portfolios.
A federal grand jury in Florida charged Potillo with seven counts of wire fraud, 10 counts of bribery of a bank official and 16 counts of money laundering in connection with the alleged $76 million scheme.
The indictment did not name Tate directly, instead referring to "W.T."
Potillo allegedly paid "W.T." $1 million for details on U.S. Banks auctions of debt it had charged off, according to a federal indictment. Federal officials have not confirmed that Tate is the W.T. in the indictment involving United Credit Recovery (UCR), an Orlando, Fla., company and one of the countrys largest volume consumer debt buyers.
Tate, of Dacula, Ga., pleaded guilty last fall to accepting $24,000 from Oxford while working as an assistant vice president for the bank in 2008 and 2009. Oxford executives initially gave him expensive cigars, court documents show, and those turned to outright bribes by mid-2008 when Oxford executives began stashing $2,500 to $5,000 a month in Graycliff cigar boxes. The cash was covered with cigars and mailed to Tates home at the time in Mason, Ohio. Tate sometimes called Oxford executives asking when his next payment would arrive. Tate, who moved to Georgia, where he was arrested in 2013, could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
U.S. Bank hires other firms to collect debt on its own behalf but no longer sells charged-off debt to firm that then try to collect it for themselves. Company spokeswoman Teri Charest stated Tuesday that U.S. Bank has been reviewing third-party relationships across all business areas and, specific to collections, has limited the number of agencies it works with while also tightening overall processes.
In the Oxford case, Tate pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank bribery, which carries a maximum sentence of five years. He is out on bail, according to the U.S. attorneys office in Connecticut. Tate was supposed to have been sentenced in February, but it was delayed following the filing of a sealed motion and hasnt been rescheduled.
Oxford CEO Peter Pinto and five other executives pleaded guilty in relation to a fraud scheme involving the pocketing of portions of the debt Oxford was collecting for clients. The scheme cost Oxfords clients more than $10 million, authorities said. Peter Pinto was sentenced in December to four years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release
Patrick Pinto, a former vice president at Oxford, was sentenced last fall in federal court to two years of probation for bribing Tate. Pinto was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service.
Richard Pinto, former chairman of the board, was sentenced to five years in prison, but has since died.