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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

White Plains woman pleads guilty to bank fraud

All WNY News     Wednesday, December 20, 2017    

STAFF REPORTS



BUFFALO -- Vanessa Cardona, 28, of White Plains, pleaded guilty, before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo, to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Trini E. Ross and Stephanie O. Lamarque, who are handling the case, stated that between December 2015 and October 2016, the defendant worked with co-defendants Sergiy Bezrukov, Mark Farnham, and Dustin Walker at what purported to be debt-restructuring companies which had various names including “Corporate Restructure.” The defendant herself used alias names, including “Emily Goldstein” and “Rebecca Epstein,” while assisting with the fraudulent debt restructuring businesses.

Cardona trained employees in the mailroom of the Salamanca, NY, office on the operation of NEO Post machines, which were used to create mass mailings of fraudulent solicitation letters that were sent to small business owners. Those letters, which contained fraudulent solicitations to small business owners seeking monies from them in order to assist them in restructuring high-interest loans held by other lenders, originated from New York City, New Jersey, and Salamanca.  Such letters directed the small business owners to return documents to Corporate Restructure via private carriers, including Federal Express.

Co-defendant Dustin Walker has been convicted and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 2, 2018. Charges remain pending against Sergiy Bezrukov and Mark Farnham. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

The plea is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector-in-Charge Shelly Binkowski of the Boston Division; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division, under the direction of James D. Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Field Office; and Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 9.

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