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For Wilbur Tate III, a former officer of U.S. Bank in Ohio, the bribes started with expensive cigars. Then, he received cigar boxes that were stuffed with money. Now, Tate has pleaded guilty to receiving bribes while he was employed at the bank.
Tate “admitted to taking $24,000 in kickbacks from debt collectors at Oxford Collection Agency in exchange for U.S. Bank’s collections business,” said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP. “While the country struggled through the financial crisis, rather than collect the debts of TARP banks, executives at Oxford ripped-off TARP banks in a $12 million debt fraud scheme, and Tate shared in their spoils. Tate took bribes which began with expensive cigars and escalated to cash payments of as much as $5,000 per month disguised in cigar boxes. Oxford executives also deposited funds they collected on behalf of TARP banks directly into Tate’s personal bank account at U.S. Bank.”
According to court documents and statements made in court:
Oxford 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 executives engaged in a multi-year scheme to defraud its lender, investors, and clients – and that Oxford was actively involved in bribing bank officials.
Tate, an assistant vice president at U.S. Bank in Ohio from January 2004 through February 2011, was in charge of outsourcing collection accounts to collection agencies, including Oxford. Beginning in approximately August 2008 and continuing for more than two years, Oxford 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.
Tate pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank bribery, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.
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