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Florida Man Charged in $76 Million Fraud Scheme

Leonard Potillo of Longwood, Florida has been charged in a 33-count indictment for wire fraud, bribing a bank official, and unlawful monetary transactions. Potillo is charged with operating an alleged $76 million fraud scheme involving the purchase and sale of delinquent debt portfolios from banks, according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Trouble Asset Relief Program (SIGARP).

Potillo faces seven counts of wire fraud, 10 counts of bribing a bank official, and 16 counts of unlawful monetary transactions.

"Potillo is charged with fraud and bribing an officer at TARP recipient U.S. Bank to the tune of $1 million in exchange for inside information to benefit his debt collections agency," said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP. "Potillo and his company allegedly amassed $76 million in ill-gotten profits after buying debt portfolios from TARP banks and falsifying the quality of the debt to flip the debt to other collections agencies."

According to the indictment, Potillo is the owner and manager of United Credit Recovery (UCR), LLC of Seminole County, Florida. UCR purchased charged-off consumer overdraft debt portfolios from financial institutions for the purpose of collecting debt to sell to third-parties at a profit.

When purchasing debt portfolios from U.S. Bank, Potillo allegedly bribed a U.S. Bank officer with more than $1 million for inside information. Furthermore, UCR misrepresented the quality of the debt to the third-party debt purchasers as premium quality debt, when in fact it was of lower quality.

Using this scheme, UCR and Potillo amassed over $76 million in profits, using the illegal proceeds to purchase luxury cars such as an Aston Martin, Maserati, Ferrari, and Jaguar, as well as multiple homes in Florida as well as residences in Montreal, Canada and Edinburgh, Scotland.

If convicted, Potillo faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each wire fraud charge, up to 30 years in prison for each bribery charge, and up to 10 years on each of the money laundering charges.

About Author: Colin Robins

Colin Robins is the online editor for DSNews.com. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts from the University of Texas, Dallas. Additionally, he contributes to the MReport, DS News' sister site.

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