Owner Of United Credit Recovery Charged In $76 Million Scheme
June 9, 2014
Orlando, FL – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Leonard G. Potillo, III (48, Longwood) with 7 counts of wire fraud, 10 counts of bribery of a bank official, and 16 counts of money laundering. 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 in federal prison on each of the money laundering charges. The indictment also notifies Potillo that the United States intends to forfeit the following assets which are alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offenses: bank accounts totaling approximately $3.9 million in deposits; a 2008 Maserati; a 2007 Ferrari; a 2014 Jaguar; a 2010 Aston Martin; two vehicles located in Scotland; three residences located in Florida, one residence in Montreal, Canada and a residence in Littlejohn, Edinburgh, Scotland. The United States is also seeking a money judgment in the amount of at least $76 million, the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct.
Potillo was arrested at his residence this morning and will make his initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge David Baker at 3:00 p.m. today, in Orlando.
According to the indictment, Potillo is the manager/owner of United Credit Recovery, LLC (UCR). UCR purchased charged-off consumer overdraft debt from financial institutions for the purposes of collecting debt and selling the debt to third-parties, at a profit. UCR advertised on its website that it purchased in excess of $10 billion of overdraft debts from financial institutions such as U.S. Bank, N.A. and Wells Fargo, N.A, among others. When purchasing debt portfolios from U.S. Bank, Potillo allegedly bribed a U.S. Bank officer with more than $1 million for inside information relating to the bank’s auction of overdraft debt portfolios. The indictment further alleges that after purchasing debt portfolios from financial institutions, UCR re-sold them to third-party debt purchasers. When selling its debt portfolios, UCR misrepresented the quality of the debt to the third-party debt purchasers as premium quality debt, when in fact it was lower quality debt. UCR also sold the debt portfolios with fictitious “Affidavits of Correctness/Assignments” that were created by UCR on a mass scale. By making such misrepresentations, UCR and Potillo profited at least $76 million from the scheme. With those illegal proceeds, Potillo spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on prime real estate holdings in the United States and abroad, and purchased luxury vehicles.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the United States Secret Service, with the assistance of the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP). It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Haas.