4th Alleged Co-conspirator in Fake Debt Settlement Company ArrestedApril 14, 2017 | By: Sean Murray
A 4th individual has been arrested in connection with the alleged business loan debt settlement fraud perpetrated by Corporate Restructure Inc.
Vanessa Cardona a/k/a Emily Goldstein, was arrested right outside of Scardale, NY in February and charged with mail fraud. According to the criminal complaint, she and her main accomplice, Sergiy Bezrukov a/k/a John Butler, represented themselves “as a ‘debt restructuring business’ which target small businesses (Victims) that had ‘short-term high interest loans’ from a number of other companies.”
The three other individuals including Bezrukov, were arrested in October and November 2016.
The scheme worked as follows: Once a merchant responded to them, they created a debt restructuring plan for the Victim. “As part of the agreement, the Victim business owners had to authorize Corporate Restructure to make daily, weekly or monthly withdrawals from their business accounts,” the complaint says. “The Victims were told that the withdrawn funds would be used to pay down the Victims’ original debt with their lender, while Corporate Restructure worked with the lender to improve the terms of the original loan, namely, lower interest rate, longer terms and a different payment structure that would benefit the Victims.”
No such payments to the lenders were actually made, nor any efforts to negotiate with them.
Cardona worked with Bezrukov for companies with various names including Community Legal Aid Services, Corporate Restructure, Seneca BPO, SBC Telecom Consulting, Inc., SBC Financial Corp., Nationwide Advance Corp. LTD, AKS Associates I, LLC, Hosted Called Center, Open Source BPO, Inc., Michaels and Michaels Partners, Inc., Clear Call Systems, Inc., Single Process Integration, Inc., and WebLogic II, LLC.
The two attempted to mail out 2,500 solicitations per day, claiming that they could reduce a merchant’s short term debt by up to 75% within 48 hours. When merchants signed up, the funds were instead diverted to Corporate Restructure and the merchants inevitably ended up in default on their loans or MCAs.
More than 100 victims are alleged to have been defrauded for a total of more than $1 million.
deBanked obtained a copy of a letter (which we have not authenticated but appears legitimate) that the US Department of Justice sent out to merchants two weeks ago to alert them that they were the victim of a crime.
Cardona was released on a $50,000 bond while awaiting trial. Bezrukov, however, is currently a resident of Niagra County Jail. Two weeks after Cardona was arrested, Bezrukov sent a handwritten letter to the judge, to explain that he had fired his attorney for acting against his explicit instructions and that he was now representing himself. He also demanded a speedy trial.
The pair are also co-defendants in at least two civil cases in New York State filed by merchant cash advance companies.
All of the accused are innocent until proven guilty Last modified: May 7, 2017
Sean Murray is the founder of deBanked, an 11-year veteran of the merchant cash advance industry, a casual Lending Club and Prosper note investor, the co-founder of Daily Funder, an alternative lending speaker, consultant, writer, and enthusiast. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on twitter.