Debt collectors get prison terms for $5.7M fraud scheme

November 18, 2019 GMT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge in North Carolina has sentenced a man and a woman to prison for their roles in using a debt collection company to defraud victims out of at least $5.7 million.

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad Jr. on Monday sentenced 46-year-old Laurence Sessum, of Mathews; and 51-year-old Jacqueline Dianne Okomba, of Salisbury; to prison terms of 135 months and 72 months, respectively.

A jury convicted Sessum and Okomba of wire fraud conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges in April.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray’s office said in a news release that the defendants’ fraudulent debt collection company, Direct Processing LLC, used threats and other intimidating tactics to scare victims into paying money they didn’t owe or that the company wasn’t authorized to collect.