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A former officer at Washington Mutual Bank late last week waived his right to indictment and entered a guilty plea to receiving kickbacks from a debt collection agency while he was in charge of the bank’s collection agency outsourcing network.

The office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut announced that Michael Gesimondo of Farmingdale, N.Y. pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to accept money as a reward in connection with a business transaction of a bank.

Gesimondo was employed as Collection Manager of Business Banking at Washington Mutual Bank, and was in charge of outsourcing collection accounts to collection agencies.  Washington Mutual Bank contracted with the Oxford Collection Agency to collect debts owed to it by consumers.  Between May 2008 and May 2009, Gesimondo received kickbacks from Oxford Collection Agency as a reward for providing Oxford with the bank’s debt collection business, often providing Gesimondo with a percentage of the collected debt amount.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for April 4. Gesimondo faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.

Gesimondo is the second bank official to get swept up in the long-running case against Oxford and its controlling Pinto family. A former official at US Bank in November pleaded guilty in the case that has seen at least six other convictions, including three within the Pinto family. The US Bank official’s involvement included some more salacious details, like receiving monthly cash bribes from Oxford in cigar boxes.

Between 2007 and 2011, Oxford executives engaged in a multi-year scheme to defraud its lender, Connecticut-based Webster Bank, as well as its investors, clients, and the commercial debtors that Oxford collected from. Oxford’s victims lost more than $12 million as a result of this scheme.

The investigation also revealed that Oxford sometimes obtained and retained business with its banking clients by paying bribes and kickbacks to bank officials.

The case against Oxford was investigated by the FBI, IRS, and the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) because the banks involved took TARP money.


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