Debt Settlement Company & 6 Individuals Charged for Multi-Million Dollar Scheme
NEW YORK, NY- U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Philip Bartlett announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging Mission Settlement Agency ("MISSION"), its owner Michael Levitis, and three of its employees -- DENIS KURLYAND, BORIS SHULMAN, and MANUEL CRUZ -- with mail and wire fraud charges in connection with a multi-million dollar scheme that victimized more than 1,200 debt-ridden individuals across the country. As alleged, the defendants fraudulently tricked people into paying MISSION for debt settlement services by lying to prospective customers about its fees, and its purported affiliation with the federal government and one of the three leading credit bureaus in the U.S., as well as the results it supposedly achieved for its customers. In connection with the scheme, MISSION received over $6.6 million in fees. For over 1, 200 of its customers, MISSION took fees totaling nearly $2.2 million and has never paid a penny to the customers' creditors. Two former employees of the debt settlement company, Felix Lemberskiy and Zakhir Shirinov, previously pled guilty for their participation in the fraudulent scheme. In addition, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced the filing of a civil forfeiture complaint seeking to forfeit the proceeds of the alleged fraud and the assets involved in money laundering related to the scheme. CFPB Director Richard Cordray also announced civil charges against MISSION and LEVITIS, among others.