(Ventura, Ca) District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced the felony conviction of five members of a debt collection scheme:
- Timothy Edmond Burke, Jr. (DOB 8/24/81), of Las Vegas;
- Deisi Tapia Rivera (DOB 10/18/83), of Las Vegas;
- Veronica Esther Ventura (DOB 8/20/84), of Oxnard;
- Angela Maire Covarrubias (DOB 5/14/76), of Ventura; and
- Elizabeth Angie Olvera (DOB 12/26/77), of Santa Paula.
The defendants were charged with multiple felony counts including grand theft, theft from an elder, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit false advertising. In addition, they were charged with the aggravated white-collar crime enhancement for stealing over $100,000. The case was the result of an investigation by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.
Background to Collections Scheme to Defraud Customers
From 2013 to 2017, Burke and Rivera ran a series of fraudulent debt collection agencies in Ventura County.
These entities included
- Nationwide Debt Busters,
- Walker Adams & Associates,
- Financial Service Bureau,
- Steven Chasity & Associates, and
- Rutter Riesman & Associates
They offered debt collection services on a contingency basis to businesses and individuals throughout the United States.
After paying upfront fees, however, no collection services were provided. Furthermore, if a debtor paid the agencies, the agencies would keep the money. Burke and Rivera used the stolen proceeds to pay their personal expenses. Veronica Ventura joined the scheme in 2015, and acted as the general manager in charge of daily activities. In 2016, Covarrubias and Olvera were involved in the management of the businesses and in taking of money from victims.
Convictions for 5 Defendants
Burke and Rivera each pled guilty to 21 felony counts and are currently serving six- and five-year sentences in the California Department of Corrections, respectively. Ventura pled guilty to 16 felony counts and is due to be sentenced on October 1, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. in courtroom 12. Covarrubias and Olvera each pled guilty to 9 felony counts and are due to be sentenced on January 9, 2019, and November 14, 2018, respectively.
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