United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut announced that Wilbur Tate III of Dacula, Ga., was arrested Wednesday on a federal criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy to commit bank bribery while he was an executive at U.S. Bank in Ohio.
The arrest is tied to the ongoing and long-running federal investigation of Oxford Collection Agency and its executives, including several members of the controlling Pinto family. Tate is accused of taking bribes from the collection agency.
Tate appeared Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda T. Walker in Atlanta and was released on a $50,000 bond.
According to the complaint and court documents filed in related cases, Oxford Collection Agency was a private financial services company that engaged in accounts receivables management, primarily debt collecting, with offices in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida. Between 2007 and 2011, Oxford Collection Agency executives engaged in a multi-year scheme to defraud its lender, investors and clients. The investigation also revealed that Oxford Collection Agency was actively involved in bribing bank officials.
The complaint alleges that Tate, an Assistant Vice President of U.S. Bank in Ohio from January 2004 through February 2011, was in charge of outsourcing collection accounts to collection agencies, including Oxford Collection Agency. Beginning in approximately August 2008 and continuing for more than two years, Oxford Collection Agency executives engaged in a bribery scheme with Tate in order to obtain and retain the business of U.S. Bank.
As part of the scheme, Oxford executives initially provided Tate with boxes of expensive cigars, and subsequently sent Tate monthly cash payments of between $2,500 and $5,000, which were hidden in cigar boxes and mailed to Tate’s residence in Mason, Ohio.
Patrick Pinto, a Vice President at Oxford, was charged in December for his role in the bribery scheme.
U.S. Bank received funds through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
U.S. Attorney Fein also stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Tate and Patrick Pinto arrests were part of a string of actions against people affiliated with Oxford.
On May 11, 2012, Richard Pinto, Oxford’s Chairman, and his son, Peter Pinto, Oxford’s 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 a $10 million fraud scheme they executed while executives at Oxford Collection Agency. They await sentencing.
Patrick Pinto is the son of Richard Pinto and the brother of Peter Pinto.
Three non-Pinto former Oxford executives pleaded guilty in December to fraud and other charges for their roles in the illegal proceedings of the company.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), and the Connecticut Securities, Commodities, and Investor Fraud Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Liam Brennan, Special U.S. Attorney John McReynolds and Deputy U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.